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By Sydney Kane

Sentry Staff Reporter

As finals week comes around once again, there is only one thing on everyone’s mind: summer. Students spend the last couple of weeks cramming for final tests, all with the knowledge that soon they will finally be free. Unbeknownst to them, most teachers think the exact same thing.

Somehow throughout the years, students have come to the conclusion that teachers wish to be in school their entire lives and do not have anything resembling a social life. In most cases, that it entirely untrue. Just as students need to chuck out all their school remains and run for the beach or airport, teachers are right behind them, tossing aside graded finals and packing up.

Like their students, teachers travel far and wide and reach every corner of the world during their much-needed break. Social studies teacher Thomas Lenihan is perhaps one of the teachers most well known for his journeys. This year he is attending a week-long teaching seminar on the Age of Reagan in California, and later he is taking a trip to Ireland.

“Usually I do a sort of mix of things. I like to travel. I like to do some sort of professional development, such as a sort of workshop. I like to mix it up,” said Lenihan. “I like to relax and typically spend some time reading and sitting by the pool. I like being able to sleep in, I like being able to do what I want, and take my time, and have a lot of choices in terms of travel and personal development. It’s nice to have two months when you can just do your thing.”

Like most teachers, Lenihan spends a lot of his summers planning for the next school year and this summer he will be working on his curriculum for the new Introduction to Law course. Spanish teacher Margaret Johnson also works during the summer on her class plans for the upcoming year.

“I often will spend hours every day designing curriculum at home. I like to, I love my job. It feels natural,” said Johnson.

In addition to planning for next year, Johnson is going to be the principal of an immersion program at Swanson Middle School for Chinese and Arabic speakers. The day the program ends, she is flying to Granada, Spain.

“There, [my boyfriend and I] spend time going to beaches, visiting friends in different parts of Spain. We do a lot of mountain biking. Granada’s in the mountains, so from our house we just leave and go biking every day. We do some hiking too,” said Johnson, whose favorite part about summer is not having to set an alarm.

Social studies teacher Courtney Greco will be planning for the new academic year after her honeymoon this summer in the Caribbean.

“Usually I go to the beach and visit family members. I usually take an online class or go to some workshop at one of the local places because they put on free teacher workshops so I can get some new ideas for the next year and keep up to date, especially with my government class. It’s a lot of time to recoup from the year and make sure I work on stuff for the following year,” said Greco.

True to her teaching, Greco said, “Whenever I travel, I always try to find historical tours, even when I’m visiting family. I think that adds a lot to the classroom because I can bring those stories back. So when I’m teaching about that time period in history, I can add stories from the summer.”

Lenihan, whose dream summer destinations include Egypt, Turkey and Portugal, usually takes pictures of the places he goes and puts them into a powerpoint to show to his classes.

Johnson, whose dream summer destinations include South Africa, Brazil and New Zealand, is going to try to bring back World Cup merchandise from Spain to show her students, as well as try to sneak back chorizo, Spanish sausage. No matter where she is or what she is doing during summer break, Johnson will always be happy.

“There have been summers that I just stay home and read the whole time or do lesson planning. I’m happy any time I’m off. I never get bored. It doesn’t matter where I am,” said Johnson.

Greco, whose dream summer destination is Hawaii, tries to bring back any pictures, maps or documents she got from wherever she goes to show her students. She likes to put it all together into a presentation, and if she does a teacher workshop, she tries to incorporate that into a lesson as well. Like most teachers, she tries to do her work at home rather than having to come into school.

Lenihan, to say the least, is not very fond of the idea of teaching at summer school.

“I think most teachers like having a break, I think we feel like we need a break after a long school year. We do a lot of work after hours and on the weekends. We need that time, as students need that time to relax and have some fun and rejuvenate and then come back refreshed in September,” said Lenihan.

Johnson would not like to teach at summer school either.

“I need a break from teaching. I can do curriculum, I can read and do all that stuff but I cannot teach. I need a break to refresh. I love my students, but we are all happier when we get a break,” she said.

Contrastly, Greco would eventually like to teach at summer school.

“I would consider teaching at summer school, and I probably will in the future, but right now I’m trying to utilize my summers while I’m not married or have kids, to explore and do things like that. As that family aspect starts to happen, I’ll probably do summer school just to have a little bit more income. I enjoyed summer school classes when I took them, so I want to be a positive experience for kids who don’t necessarily want to be in school in the summer, but have to. I think I would with that,” said Greco.

For now and for the future, summer is not all about work.

“I like the time to be able to re-energize myself and remember why I love teaching, and be able to find new resources and think of new lessons. It gets me excited for starting the next year, so I really like having that time to be able to sit and reflect about what went well last year, what didn’t go well, how I can fix it and how I want to start the next year,” Greco said.

After all, that is what summer is all about. It is a time to take a breath, have some fun and get ready for a new beginning.

 

Featured Image by Rachel Finley

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Teachers in the Sun