The students finished their first week back, and we teachers have been back for over three weeks. A lot of good work has been done and it has been busy. It’s been so busy in fact, that I started this post three weeks ago when the teachers finished our first day back, and I haven’t had the time or energy to get back to it until now.
Now for those of you who were surprised by the fact that our students have already been back for a full week, our school follows a modified year-round calendar. Our students have a summer break that’s about eight weeks which is about four weeks shorter than the school district in our area. Now that may sound terrible, but we get it back throughout the school year. After every nine weeks, we get two weeks off. I’m going to say that again: after every nine weeks, we get two weeks off. So that means when teachers and students in most schools are getting a little bleary in early October, we get two weeks off to rest and charge up. Speaking as a teacher, two week vacations are glorious! I was more accustomed to one week breaks at most of the other schools I’ve worked at, and in that situation you’re often stuck with the choice between resting and getting some useful projects done. But with two weeks off you have time to charge your batteries and get some big ticket items done that will make a difference in the classroom over the next nine weeks. So for teachers, it’s great.
And it is also pretty great for students. The more frequent breaks are just as great for kids as they are for the adults, but I think the real benefit for the students is the shorter summer. Now that may sound a little insensitive, but with a shorter summer, students have less of a chance to slide. So when they come back in July, they are academically much closer to where they were in May than if they came back in late August.
When I first pondered my school’s unique calendar, I thought I would miss my long summers. But I can confidently say I wouldn’t ever want to go back to the traditional calendar now.