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Break or Breakdown

Posted on June 24, 2014 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Craig Funston

It’s that time of year when parents start panicking and kids start drooling, both over the same thing–summer holidays. And then there’s the teacher, panicking and drooling at the same time.

Of course, that may have more to do with the workload than anything else.

Parents panic because they will be having all these extra kids around the house for days and weeks (and nearly months) at a time. And kids with too little to do and limited motivation to be productive are a volatile entity. Sleeping in, laying around, hanging out, and playing cyber games are every parent’s nightmare—but every kid’s dream.

In fact, that’s what has them drooling.

And then there are the teachers. There’s the panic of all the year-end demands and the drooling for those weeks without marking, prepping, and disciplining. Summer holidays indeed are a welcome perk in that business.

No matter where I stand on the role of public/private education vs. home education, I will be the first to acknowledge that teachers do deserve most of the breaks they get, with summer holidays being the biggest plum of them all.

Good teachers spend extra hours every day at their craft, well beyond classroom time. They easily cram a 52-week year into 40 weeks. The track record of a few poor teachers out there shouldn’t take away from the many good ones.

It may not be that long ago that you were a student in a classroom. If it was, then at least envision being a teacher, with thirty-plus students that look, talk, dress, and act like your own kids. Can you imagine teaching thirty kids all day, every day, just like your own? Didn’t think so.

Then throw into the mix subjects you both hate (teachers and students), out-of-control hormones, baggage from home and generally life itself, and you will have a recipe for a modern classroom setting. (Okay, not always, but often.)

And that’s one of the main reasons why teachers need holidays.

I dabble in teaching on a part-time basis, as you know, teaching only two days a week at this point of my career. Through the gracious direction of my principal, I teach subjects I like, ones that I think I’m quite competent to teach. Classes are small, and, for the most part, kids are well-behaved. Thus, I can’t relate to the challenges of what I just said two paragraphs ago.

While my wife and I have taken the homeschooled route, that’s not how most people have their kids educated. But the thrust of today’s column is not about teacher options—it’s about teacher holidays.

If you as a parent have handed over the education of your child to a teacher, then you have a moral, personal, and educational responsibility to support that person—and by extension, that system.

And part of that support should come in the form of understanding your child’s teacher a little better. Understanding their need for holidays would be a good place to start.

I speak from personal experience when I speak of the joy of encouragement that comes from supportive parents. Notes, handshakes, and a word of thanks over the years have gone a long way to bless me.

Over the years, it appears that the relationship breakdown between school and home has eroded. One of the successes of the school system of a generation or two ago was how much the families were able to work with them.

In other words, working together for the common good of the child.

And part of that equation would be supporting them in the breaks they deserve so they will be refreshed enough to be more effective with your kids. Again, that becomes a win-win-win situation.

Just thinking about that makes me drool.

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