It is, quite obviously, a national mystery as to what teachers do with their summers.
I know this because every flipping human being with whom I come into contact asks me as much. I go to get my oil changed. “What? A mid-day appointment works for you? You’re a teacher? Whatever do you do with your summer?” I go to the doctor. “And what’s your occupation? Teacher? Why, what are you doing with your summer?” I go get my hair cut…
I go to get my haircut and there’s a student in the chair ahead of me.
“SENORA! Wait…what are you doing here??”
Plucking a chicken.
Oh…no, wait…I’m getting my hair cut, you smartass, what do you think I’m doing here?
And then there’s the beautician.
“Aww…you were his teacher? So what do you do during the summer?”
Cease to exist in everyone else’s mind, apparently.
So although I dodged it last year, opting for giving only a list of what I most definitely don’t do during the summer, this year I figured I’d spill the beans. Let the cat out of the bag. Allow the public eye to see the Secret Lives of Teachers Off Duty. And if you’re hoping for some educational version of Teachers Gone Wild, don’t hold your breath.
We’re entirely too exhausted to be showing our boobs.
Teacher Summer Activity #1: Drag Cot Out of Classroom
Though widely practiced among teachers nationwide, the Dragging of the Cot From the Classroom is an annual ritual rarely sighted by outsiders. Permitting outsiders to observe it would defeat the entire purpose for its existence in the first place – specifically, it would violate the first commandment of teaching, “Thou Shalt Not Exist Outside of the Classroom.” While, due to a shameful quirk in the laws of physics, it is rather difficult to cease to exist simply by exiting a classroom door, teachers have managed to hold fast to that commandment by limiting their life purpose and physical locality to the classroom for nine months of the year. All those suspicions you had in elementary school? You were correct. Your teachers did, indeed, live at school. In fact, were it not for those pesky janitors who insist on cleaning the building from top to bottom every summer, we would never dare venture from the confines of Where We Belong. But every June, along with the bottles of bleach and the floor wax comes the horrifying realization that we will have to leave our little caves, venture out in public and actually attempt do do things like Buy Groceries and Go To the Bank.
Teacher Summer Activity #2: Drool
Generally, I like to mark the end of the cot-dragging by finding a little corner of the home some kind soul has lent me (there’s really no purpose in buying a house when you aren’t going to use it most of the year) and drooling for awhile. It eases the mind, helps a body to reset after a busy year. Think of it as a form of meditation, if you will. My rule of thumb is about one minute of drooling for every time my name was unnecessarily called at work, so that’s roughly 9,000 minutes which translates into about 150 hours, or 3.75 work weeks of full-time drooling. So by the time I’m finished with Teacher Summer Activity #2, I’m usually nearing July which is already about half my summer spent, but I am in great shape for my next activity…
Teacher Summer Activity #3: Forget What Day of the Week It Is
Do not attempt to schedule something with me and have me show up. Do not pretend I have any concept of what day matches what date. I do not understand the difference between Mondays and Fridays, Saturdays and Tuesdays. I will be late because I forgot to account for rush hour or I will be pleasantly surprised because it’s unexpectedly happy hour. I live in a weirdly warpy world where time ceases to exist. Days of the week? Schedules?
They mean nothing to me.
Teacher Summer Activity #4: Engage in Non-Academic Activities
A sad side effect of removing a teacher from his or her classroom is that he or she will almost immediately begin to act erratically. It’s rather similar to putting a mouse in a maze and watching it circle in confusion, or a fly in a car that repeatedly slams itself into the windows, searching for that elusive freedom.
We simply don’t know what to do if we’re not working.
Without students, parents, and administrators to fill out time we become irrational. We do things we normally wouldn’t. We dress up, sit on restaurant patios and socialize. We pull out the grill and throw on some steaks. We don bikinis and go the beach. We buy tickets and go to the movies…on a weeknight.
And if that wasn’t enough to make the casual onlooker nervous, the last (and most pleasing) teacher summer activity usually convinces the general public that we ought to just stay in our classroom holes…
Teacher Summer Activity #5: Pee Whenever We Want
The glory of bell-free bathroom breaks. The wonder of having enough time to wash your hands. The majestic freedom of walking by a bathroom and deciding to use it just because we can. The summer teacher becomes a bathroom connoisseur. Want to know which restaurants have the thickest toilet paper? Which public bathrooms have the roomiest stalls? Which of your friends’ houses have the most delightful bathroom decor? Just ask a teacher. He or she will have scoped out the most comfortable porcelain thrones, basking in the pleasure of going pee at odd times, rebelling against the bell the commands the bladder for three-quarters of the year, rejecting the cold concrete floors and stinky pink soap. Oh, yes. During the summer, teachers, we pee.
And then, some time in August, I will start washing the sheets of my cot. I will prepare my bag of toiletries, start getting myself on a schedule again in order to prepare for The Great Return.
But I’d prefer not to think about that, yet. It’s 12:53 on…someday…and I think I’m going to pee and then do something scandalous. Venture out to to a museum, perhaps. Or buy some fruit.
I might even wearing yoga pants and a tank top. Because teachers in the summer…
That’s how we roll.