It’s Summer – Take Some Time Off

Everyone needs vacation. There is no substitute for forcing your mind and body away from work, even if just for a week. (For the record, I believe people need way more than that.) Some folks say they just can’t. I don’t get that.

Photo Credit: anna_t via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: anna_t via Compfight cc

There was a recent exchange on Twitter about the following blog post, first shared by David Didau and Julie Balen.  Conspicuous Work: Do We Compound the Work Issue Ourselves?  (by James Theobald) It’s worth a read.We live in a world where those perceived to work hard get lots of kudos, including educators. Sometimes I feel as if we’re all part of a giant, unspoken conspiracy to work harder and get less sleep because that’s just what we do. I don’t get that either.

Reactions to the article from Julie and others in my PLN centered around whether doing what you love is “work.” That’s an interesting question. It reminds me a brief Twitter conversation I had with Gerald Aungst about compliance vs. commitment. He helped me see that compliance is when others make us do it, even if we know it’s good for us, and commitment is when we make ourselves do it.

Every summer there seems to be some handwringing by educators and other members of the public about teacher vacations. Most educators don’t go into work in the summer. After the craziness of the last month of school, they head home and can do what they wish for the next 9-11 weeks. It’s one of the fantastic privileges of being an educator.  Many choose to take courses, work on prep for September, read professional books, noodle around on their blog – there are lots of options!  Some of that stuff is fun, and some you have to do so you feel energized and prepared for the first day of school. That’s commitment. I totally get that.

Still, I stand by my first sentence.  Whatever we decide to do with vacation, we need make sure that some of it is really vacation. Don’t think about your job for a week (or three). Can you do it?


6 Responses to “It’s Summer – Take Some Time Off”

  1. So true, Sue. I’ve read countless articles about the positivity of recreation and vacations. Sometimes it’s easy to get away, and sometimes it’s not so easy. Last year my family took a great two-week vacation out west and I didn’t think about school work the entire time. This year it’s much different since my own children need to be around home for a large number of obligations and programs, that I’m home too which means I’m closer to the computer and school work, hence it’s more difficult to pry myself away. Yet, we have a few days away planned, and I’m looking forward to that time. All in all though it’s important to recreate, relax, and take vacations and we should encourage all that make those good times a priority.

  2. Sue, as always, you’ve given me a lot to think about here. I know that I’m guilty of not always taking a vacation. That said, I don’t work all summer either. I think that some kind of balance works well for me. I’ll take time to go out with friends, read books for pleasure, and enjoy quiet/outdoor time, but I’ll also start thinking about September and reading curriculum documents and/or professional resources. I just had a Twitter conversation about this very point yesterday, when I tweeted my response to a recent professional read, and a fellow teacher suggested that I leave these reads until the end of August. I said that I need to “spread things out,” and I do. I try to alternate some personal reads with some professional ones, and some planning time with some relaxation time. Then I go back to school much more refreshed.

    Turning off and recharging are great, but maybe how we do so will vary from person to person. All of this being said, if we believe in the need for this time off, then why are educators often frustrated by comments from others about “two months off?” How many of us are taking these two months, and is it okay if we really do take the time without thinking/planning for school? Maybe we need it. Maybe we need to reframe how we use it and why. More to consider …


    1. Not even one week, huh?

  3. I was pretty close to a week off last week minus some professional reads. Will be this upcoming week too. I do better with many half-weeks. Definitely far less work since summer camp/school ended. I’m hoping that may count for something. 🙂 Not sure that I’m the best at turning my brain completely off though (a next step maybe). 🙂


    1. Nicely done. And how do you feel?

      1. I feel wonderful: relaxed, refreshed, & happy! It doesn’t get better than that! 🙂 And now I’m looking forward to four days of good PD in the coming weeks.


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