Why you should not wish Educators a happy “vacation” in the summer months…(or during any school break, for that matter)

Here we are at the end of another June. The teachers, EAs, Caretakers, Secretaries and Administrators of your local school(s) have bid a fond farewell to your children. You have them all to yourself now for a couple of months. Sure, you’ll send them off to camp, or to Nana and Grandpa’s for a week or two, and maybe you’ll take a little trip with them, or head out to the cottage for a bit, but they are all yours now, and you think to yourself…”Gee, those Teachers, (education teams), are sure lucky to have the summer off! I wish I had a vacation that long.”

Do you? Do you really? Do you even know what those 6-8 weeks are like for the folks who are so committed to educating and raising your offspring to be positive and contributing members of society? You think you do, but you would be very surprised.

These days, with the progress of autopay and direct deposit, the salaries for educational staff are, by and large, spread out over the school year and made relatively equal for 26 payments. But that wasn’t always the case. And it may not be the case in your district even now. You see, teachers don’t have agreements with their employer that pay them for 50 weeks of the year with 2 weeks paid vacation (or whatever other folks might receive). Educators are contract workers. Like a plumber, or a dry-waller, or a carpenter. Educators are paid by the job. Approximately 40 weeks of the year, Educators do their direct work with their clients. And like lawyers and doctors, they do lots of after hours work, they take their work home with them. Their marking, their professional development, their planning, etc. Teachers are paid to spend time with your children, educate them on a particular topic and then follow up with the necessary paperwork and meetings to track what they accomplished. And in the past, when that final June cheque arrived, that was it until midway through September of the following school year. Budget, or else!

Since there is “no school” in the summer months, educators don’t go to the buildings, because their clients are not there. But that doesn’t mean they stop working. And that doesn’t mean they have vacation pay. Do you give your plumber extra funds when he fixes your toilet so he can fly to Vegas on the weekend? No, you don’t. You expect that person to save up for that sort of thing and if the plumber isn’t, well, plumbing… he/she/they aren’t getting paid.

Make sense? I hope so.

Here’s the other tidbit. Plumbers generally make huge amounts of cash for fixing your leaky toilet. So, they do a lot of that – maybe even more than they’d like, in order to amass more funds for that holiday. You know, overtime? But educators can’t do that. Their jobs are fixed in time. The only way they can supplement their income (and believe me, many of them need to do so) is to get another job. During the school year, or all through the summer. Waiting tables, teaching summer school, tutoring, retail, driving Uber/Lyft…. That, is in addition to all of their other professional activities that they need to do in order to be ready for the following year. This isn’t even taking into account their need to recover from spending the last school year with your offspring (and everybody else’s from the hood!). I’m sure your child is and angel, but that Jimmy… let me tell you….

So, consider this the next time you decide to tell any educator that you envy their “time off”, and say things like, “it must be nice…” or “you’re so lucky” or “I should’ve been a teacher”… They are STILL working. They are ALWAYS working. You just don’t see it, because you don’t recognize it, plus, they are pretty good at it, or you’d do it all yourself, wouldn’t you? Have your darling offspring to raise and educate 365 days of the year! Not even send them to camp, right? Am I right?

Enjoy your summer with your kids. Make the most of your time together as a family, because you’ll have to give them back in the fall.

You’ll miss them SO much!

Author: Ceris Thomas

Ceris is a creative person. She teaches by day - and finds as much creativity in her job as she can and by night, (and during every spare minute she has), she creates through directing/choreographing and performing plays, drawing, writing, podcasting and now, sewing puppets. She likes to help others find and nurture their creativity and she loves finding out about other people's path to their own creative projects.

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