“Must Be Nice to Have a Spring Break”
If your a teacher, you’ve heard this passive-aggressive line before.
“Must be nice having a spring break every year.”
While I’m sure a few non-teachers have said this innocently, this comment is almost always a verbal punch-in-the-face. It’s usually a thinly-veiled insult suggesting that teaching is a fluff job while the speaker has a real job.
When I hear this, I usually smile and say something like, “Yes, it’s nice to be able to spend some time with my kids.” Now, I love teaching and wouldn’t trade it for any job in the world, but I don’t think the majority of people who say this quite understand the sacrifices our jobs require. I’m starting to think I need to assemble an army of snarky comments from which to respond. Maybe I should point out that:
– I start the day checking school email and often end it emailing parents.
– I spend Friday night grading and recording papers.
– I spend Saturday morning doing plans for the next week.
– I buy a lot of my own supplies for my classroom.
– I spent a day of this vacation working in my classroom, something I almost always do.
– I sometimes have a hard time turning off my teacher brain.
– People with other jobs have breaks too; they just call them vacation days.
The biggest problem is that it’s really hard to say any of these things without sounding like a jerk. And, as a teacher, I am always representing not just my school corporation, but the profession as a whole. None of these comments are complaints, but they would sound like one in an exchange like this:
Some Guy: Must be nice having a spring break.
Me: Oh yeah, well, it must be nice not having to do any work at home.
Some Guy: Wow, you’re a jerk.
See? I’m even aware that this blog post has somehow moved in a complainy direction. So what’s the solution? I think teachers need to just continue to communicate the amazing things that are happening in their classrooms. Showing parents classroom activities is a start, but we need to go beyond this. If the greater community sees the positive things happening in classrooms, they will be less likely to take a verbal-swipe at the profession. Blog posts, school websites, newspaper submissions, putting student publications in waiting rooms, and countless other ideas will help to increase respect for teachers among the public.