I’m a teacher.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that about me.
And, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what the common public perception regarding teachers and summer is.
“Well aren’t you so lucky to have two months off every summer.” (Hopefully you read that in the same high pitched whiny / sarcastic voice most people say it in. If not, reread and try it that way. Much more authentic.)
I won’t totally get up on my soap-box about this (which is showing great restraint on my part, mind you) but I will make one little clarification to that statement. It’s the same correction my mom made to a gentleman at our post office one day….as the story goes, she was about to go postal on him if he complained even just one more time about all the time teachers get off for summer break. Perhaps if more people understood what I’m about to tell you about teachers they wouldn’t complain so much about our summers off.
Most regular, run-of-the-mill teachers are on a 10-month contract. (Meaning they work 10 months out of 12. Makes sense so far, right?) It also means that they only get paid for 10 months of work. Typically that 10 months of payment is divided out over 12 months; so while we do receive a paycheck every single month, we are not paid for the two months we have off in the summer.
So basically, we are unemployed for two months out of the year. And the real kicker is that despite not technically being paid for those two months, we are still required to attend summer workshops and complete a whole heap of hours preparing for the upcoming school year. I’m not complaining in the least, don’t get me wrong here…but don’t bash me either for having a couple of months of unpaid vacation in the summer.
Now that we have all that cleared up, you can understand why many teachers find ways to supplement their income during our break from school. One way I do this for our family is by working a couple of weeks at a summer camp. I began working for this camp right after my first year of teaching…those first few years I was a trooper and worked three weeks a summer. The summer I got married I only worked one. And last summer & this summer I’ve worked / will work two weeks. Even though I dread it in the days leading up to my departure, it’s really a pretty good gig.
The set-up of the camp is a six-day sleep away camp w/ students around 4th – 8th grades. It focuses on Texas history and leadership skills, and for the most part we get good kids who are interested in learning and not acting like total punks all week. That’s a very good thing, because as a facilitator I am with the kids practically 24/7. There are no cell phones (for kids or adults) and we are going from around six in the morning until almost eleven at night. Every moment of the day is scheduled, we eat at restaurants (like Cracker Barrel!), and we wear our matching shirts tucked in.
The bulk of what we do is travel around in a charter bus exploring different museums and historical sights. This past week I worked in Austin, a little later in the summer I’ll be checking out the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for my second camp. A lot of changes were made to the schedule this year, so I got to see a lot of new sights…check out what we did.
Sunday…hot dog cookout (with s’mores…YES!) and getting acquainted with one another
Monday…(Austin)…Bob Bullock State History Museum, Star of Destiny Theatre, LBJ Library
Tuesday…(San Antonio)…Institute of Texas Cultures, Alamo, lunch on the Riverwalk, The Witte Museum (very cool, especially if you have children!)
Wednesday…(Austin)…Texas State Cemetary (actually very beautiful & really cool history), Capital Visitor’s Center, Texas State Capital, Texas Supreme Court, Bat Boat Ride
Thursday…(San Marcos)…Glass Bottom Boat Ride, Natural Bridge Caverns
Friday…(Austin)…”Texas” IMax video
I’d have to say that my favorite spots this year were the glass-bottom boat ride and the caverns. I learned a few new things and was totally amazed by the beauty of God’s creation. Hopefully I’ll be taking Chris back to the caverns soon so that he can experience their beauty as well.
Speaking of taking Chris to see the caverns, that’s what the money I earned from working this past week is going toward…our anniversary vacation to the Austin area. It’s something I’m really looking forward to, and we can feel good about being able to pay cash for our trip thanks to my week at camp.
If you are a Texas teacher and are interested in knowing more, or if you have a child in 4th – 9th grades and think they would love a camp like this one, shoot me a comment below or an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll provide you with the website and any additional information you are looking for.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the links to a couple of posts I wrote last summer when I got back from camp. Did I shave my legs for this? and Camp One-Up. Even as I reread them I see that there is nothing new under the sun. I heard crazy things come out of their mouths (like the girl who talked about shoving jingle bells up her nose and then shaking her head like a musical instrument) and brilliant thoughts / understandings of history. I listened in fascination as one military child debated whether she had liked living in Guam or Hawaii or Japan better (she decided on Guam, by the way) and in frustration as one smarty-pants totally bashed the Texas Education system and shared his thoughts on “why being a pre-kindergarten teacher had to be the easiest job on the planet.”
I even came home with hairy legs (and eyebrows / a mustache in desperate need of attention) to a wild puppy.
Good to know some things never change, I guess.
In the next few weeks I plan on getting crafty and storing up a few goods to sell at a local Christmas bazaar so that I can earn a little extra money for my family around Christmas time. I’ve also started my research on price-matching and couponing, so I’m doing what I can to save money…you know, since I’ve got all this “free time” in the summer. *wink* My husby has even gotten in on the action and started doing minor computer repairs for people, selling random stuff from our house on e-bay (let me know if you see our dog on there please!), and even selling virtual items in one of the online games he plays. That last one sounds crazy, I know…but oddly there are people who are willing to pay real money for virtual goods.
So….what about you? Planning any vacations? Making any extra money? Battling any hairy mustaches? (Bahaha….if that last one doesn’t make any sense to you, then you really need to click on the links and read those posts…all will be made clear then!)
Comment below and tell me what’s up! 🙂
KEEP CALM & QUIT HARRASSING TEACHERS!