Teachers: Some Back-To-School Advice When Talking About Summer Vacation

N.H. Wong, a public school teacher in Massachusetts, is writing under a false name in order to avoid a trip to the principal’s office. 

Teachers everywhere are heading back to classrooms to inspire and educate the million and a half school-aged children of Massachusetts, something we are as good or better at than teachers in every other state (especially New York). But, have you talked to any of your teacher friends recently about the end of his or her ridiculously awesome summer vacation?

My advice, as a teacher myself, to the civilian population is … don’t!

It’s almost guaranteed that your teacher friend will say something terribly offensive about the end of his or her summer break. We do it all the time. Next to telling boring stories about classroom hijinks, it’s one of our worst habits. Our family members throw their hands up. Our friends stop talking to us. And worse, people go out and vote for lawmakers to take away our collective bargaining rights.

So, as we teachers head back to work from the longest non-medical leave in America, here’s a quick guide on what we should and should not say so that the rest of society won’t feel like we deserve whatever it is our students are about to do us.

DON’T SAY: Those ten weeks of vacation really flew by.
DO SAY: I know how incredibly lucky I am to have had so much time off.

DON’T: Well, summer vacation was only nine weeks this year because of all those snow days.
DO: I’m ready to head back to the classroom.

DON’T: We work so hard as teachers. We need all summer off.
DO: You work so hard at your job. I wish you got to take the summer off, too.

DON’T: I’m so stressed. I’ve only got two weeks left before school starts.
DO: I’ve had such a relaxing summer, and now it’s time to really buckle down.

DON’T: It was such a busy summer that I feel like a need another 10-week vacation from my 10-week vacation.
DO: I was fortunate to do so many things I enjoyed this summer.

DON’T: Only four more days to go before school starts, and I still haven’t set up my classroom.
DO: I’m going to use my last days of vacation to really make sure my students have the best first days of school.

DON’T: How am I going to make it three months to that two week December vacation?
DO: It’s amazing how fast the first few months zip by. Before you know it, it’s December vacation.

DON’T: Do you ever feel this way when you go back to your job after a two-month vacation?
DO: Have you tried to get a transfer to your company’s German or Australian office? Then, you’d get the vacation you deserve.

DON’T: My tan’s going to fade so fast once I’m stuck in that classroom until 2:15 every day.
DO: This year, I’m chairing four committees and taking classes so I’ll be working a lot of 10-12 hour days.

DON’T: I know I had all summer off, but I don’t get to choose when to take vacation.
DO: If your company really cared about you, they’d give you July and August off too.

DON’T: How was my summer vacation? Great, except [sigh] too short.
DO: How was my summer vacation? It was perfect!