I was trying to plan some equipment installations this morning when I realized that I only have 5 more Mondays of work until summer vacation. You would have thought I was 10 years old again, counting down the days to a family trip to Disney World. The realization made me down right giddy.

I admit, educators are spoiled in this way. There are few other careers that provide you with three months off during the year, and I'd be lying if I said that perk isn't one of the reasons I've stayed in an underpaying industry for so long. I value my time, and there's a lot in this world I want to see and do, and my job affords me the time to do some of it, even if it doesn't necessarily provide me the funds.

Don't get me wrong: teachers make up for that three months off by working essentially what amounts to 2 jobs the other 9 months out of the year. I don't think enough people realize that just because the students go home at 3:30, that doesn't mean the teachers do. Most of the men and women I work with spend at least 2-3 hours of their day, before or after hours, preparing lessons or grading papers or calling parents, etc. It doesn't occur to parents that these things can't be done during the regular 8 hours of the school day because that time is spent actually instructing their child. Every other part of the job is done on a teacher's personal time. I haven't been out of the classroom long enough to have forgotten the endless nights of essays, and the early morning faculty meetings, and the hours of prep time to build a really great project.

Even those like myself, outside of the classroom but still in the world of high school, spend quite a bit of time outside our contractual obligations to make sure the actual school day runs smoothly. I worked an extra 7o hours in one 2 week period this year, and there was no year end bonus for my efforts. Heck, there wasn't any pay of any kind.

So, while sometimes I feel a little silly marking off the days left in the school year, I also know that I am more exhausted with every passing Monday, and I need that summer vacation (much of which will be spent at conferences ...for work) to regroup and recharge. At the very least, a few Mondays where I don't have to crawl under someone's desk because their equipment quit working may help me hold on to the small shred of sanity I have left for just a little longer. :)