“You Get Summers Off”
Last week, I was at a get together catching up with people I don’t get to see often, but that I truly love. It’s a hard time of year; I had been busy all weekend with family obligations, it was report card time, and I was overall exhausted even without contemplating everything else on my to-do list before the end of the school year… but I was there at the party. As I was saying my goodbyes, I was explaining how I had to head out early because I had to go work on report cards. One person replied, with a bit of sass and an eye roll that was a bit too obvious, “You get summers off…” meaning, don’t complain, you have it pretty darn good. Another person quickly added “your summers probably aren’t long enough, though”. Two very different responses. Two very different views of what I do.
As I drove home, I kept thinking about that first little comment, and just how much it bothered me. I finally went to bed and when I woke up the next morning, it was the first thing that I thought of. I couldn’t shake it, so I did what I thought might help me process. I reflected and talked to some close friends and family about it. Why did it bother me so much?
Here’s the thing, unless you’re a teacher, you don’t understand. Even if you’re the spouse of a teacher, you don’t truly understand. No one can understand how much heart, time, and energy teachers put into their every day, unless they too are a teacher. And your comments, no matter how innocent you think they are, can be like a dagger to the heart. I know I am not the only one who’s heard comments like this, it happens far more frequently than I’d like, and we often just brush it off. I don’t, however, go around putting down other professions, nor do I feel the need to compare them. No matter what your work is, it is important, and dismissing what I do doesn’t help any of us. Just because you went to school, or have kids going through school, it doesn’t mean you understand.
I am not looking for sympathy, nor am I going to try to explain what my day to day looks like, because that would be pointless. Like I said, unless you’re in it, you don’t get it, and I won’t waste my breath trying to convince you (because chances are, if you’re one of those people who makes comments like the one above, my words won’t ever convince you).
My point though, is that we should always be kind. Always. Whether you understand my reality or not.
And hey, you just might find that by being kind, you get an overwhelming sense of joy yourself. Give it a try.
Oh, and one more thing, you could have become a teacher. 😉
TimJune 17, 2019 at 9:58 pm
Good for you to tackle this one, Annick! Nice work.
Annick RauchJune 18, 2019 at 5:41 am
Ramona MehargJune 18, 2019 at 5:59 am
Those comments, especially in June or September really burn me. I try to take deep cleansing breaths and move away from the offender., because you are right. They don’t get it and they never will. I would never make the same comments about anyone ‘s job. I guess we just take the high road. We just keep teaching kindness. And I may sit on my front porch with a tea my first day off and wave and smile as they go to work. 😊
TriciaJune 19, 2019 at 10:33 pm
You are so right!! And really most teachers work all summer for free…planning, collaborating and participating in professional development?! I know when I was a teacher and a “9 month employee “ I worked every summer doing those things & now as an administrator and “12 month employee” I’m the one planning and asking my teachers to come in to those collaborative plannings and professional development, bc to be prepared for school opening summer is the only time we have! Education is a 24/7 365 day commitment!
Annick RauchJune 20, 2019 at 6:50 pm
It sure is!! It’s finding the fine line between explaining that and just shrugging it off!
Virginia DuncanJune 26, 2019 at 4:48 pm
I love this so much! Well said!
Annick RauchJune 26, 2019 at 8:24 pm
Thanks so much, Virginia. Glad it resonated with you!