The Hustle Behind a Teacher's 'Long' Vacation


The reality behind teaching: long nights of paperwork

 "You teachers are so lucky! You all are always on vacation!" 

These were the words of a good friend of mine recently. I couldn't help but laugh. Everyone talks about teachers and how they have soo much time off, but nobody talks about the year-long hustle which must come to an end, at least for the kids.

Let's be honest, Teachers all over the world get these kind of comments. Every year, come July, the jokes start flying. "Teachers on vacation again!" or "Living the dream with all that free time!" While, yes, we do look forward for this break and the time to recharge and rest (and yes, maybe a little beach time is involved), the reality is far from an actual resting period.

The teacher is not easy. We wear so many hats in our profession that we are always looking 

We're educators, counsellors, cheerleaders, sometimes even parents (both to our students and, let's be real, to ourselves when it comes to planning that perfect field trip!).

So, while the world sees our breaks as an extended vacation, the truth is, there's a whole lot that goes on behind the scenes during those "free" periods. Here's what nobody talks about:

1. The Pre-Break Frenzy: Wrapping Up a whirlwind

Think the school year ends with the final bell? Think again! June is a whirlwind of activity. Exams to mark, reports to write, end-of-year's a mad dash to the finish line. Don't even get me started on prepping for the next year. Curriculum updates, new textbooks, oh, and let's not forget that never-ending battle plan for standardized testing.

A teacher at the end of the school year

2. Professional Development: Sharpening Our Skills

Summer isn't for mindless Netflix binging (although catching up on our shows is definitely a perk!). Many of us dedicate a portion of our break to professional development courses, workshops, or even online certifications. We're constantly striving to improve our teaching methods, stay updated on the latest educational trends, and better serve our students.

Professional Development: Sharpening Our Skills

3. The Side Hustle Shuffle: Making Ends Meet

Let's face it, teaching is a noble profession, but it doesn't exactly come with a billionaire's salary. Many teachers, myself included, use the summer break to take on side hustles. It could be anything from tutoring to online courses, or even dipping our toes into the world of small businesses. After all, gotta pay the bills (and maybe, just maybe, squeeze in a staycation).

The Side Hustle Shuffle: Making Ends Meet

4.  From Blank Page to Masterpiece

Okay, maybe not a masterpiece (yet!), but summer break is prime time for lesson planning. We meticulously pore over textbooks, brainstorm engaging activities, and craft curriculum plans that will ignite our students' curiosity and spark a love for learning. Think of us as educational architects, meticulously building the framework for a successful school year.

A teacher planning lessons

5. Saying Goodbye and Gearing Up

There's no denying the bittersweetness of the end of the school year. We form strong bonds with our students, and saying goodbye can be tough. But there's also a sense of accomplishment, a pride in watching them grow and learn. And then, just as quickly, the excitement for the new year kicks in. We start prepping classrooms, visualizing fresh starts, and dreaming of all the possibilities the upcoming year holds.

Saying Goodbye and Gearing Up

6. Community Support

Many teachers are deeply ingrained in our communities. Summer break becomes a time to give back, volunteer at local organizations, or even participate in cultural events. We're passionate about Trinidad and Tobago, and we want to see our students and communities thrive.

commuinty support
Image courtesy

7. Errands and Appointments

Let's not forget the personal lives that simmer just beneath the surface of our teacherly duties. Appointments, errands, that ever-growing pile of laundry – it all waits for us during the so-called "break." Even though teachers have a break from the classroom, personal errands and responsibilities often pile up during this time. This could include things like doctor appointments that were difficult to schedule during the school year, catching up on home repairs that were neglected, or finally tackling that overflowing to-do list of personal errands like renewing licenses or attending to family matters.

Errands and Appointments

8. Recharging for the New School Year

Despite the hustle, summer break is undeniably a gift – a chance to prioritize our well-being. Whether it's spending time with loved ones, finally conquering that reading list, or simply catching up on sleep, taking care of ourselves allows us to return to the classroom feeling refreshed and ready to give our all.

Recharging for the New School Year

So, the next time you think teachers are lounging on the beach all summer, remember, there's a whole lot more to the story. We are dedicated educators, yes, but we're also human beings with aspirations, dreams, and a deep commitment to the future of our nation and the world at large. Here's to acknowledging the hustle behind the holidays, and appreciating the teachers who work tirelessly to shape young minds, one school year at a time.