“Thinking Like a Teacher Never Ends”—Even in the Summer

Middle school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Today on Technapex, as yet another record summer heat wave is scorching the country, we’d like to share an excellent Edutopia post from middle school teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron, who wrote about “The Myth of Having Summers Off.”

“Thinking like a teacher never ends. And when you love teaching, you can’t just turn it off at the end of June,” she writes.

Wolpert-Gawron describes her summer as filled to the brim with responsibilities for preparing for the new batch of students in the fall. She teaches summer school and cites its usefulness for setting up her upcoming learning environment (and for earning extra money). She leads department meetings during the month of July and August, tweaks curriculum and lesson plans, and even trains new teachers.

She reflects on the people she meets during the summer who erroneously point out that teachers have an entire summer off whereas people in other areas of employment do not. “I don’t know what mythical job this guy thinks I have, but I have never had a summer off,” she writes.

She also dedicates some time in her summer to learning new technology. Citing her interactive whiteboard, Wolpert-Gawron writes “I have been learning it as I go, but what with that little full-time gig I have that’s called teaching, I have had time to explore only the tip of the iceberg. Summer will, hopefully, be my chance to revisit the training modules, explore the online assistance, create better flip charts, and further integrate the board.”

In an earlier post, Wolpert-Gawron describes her affinity for using technology, believing a wide variety of tools available in each classroom is best suited for educating kids. She emphasizes the importance of choice in the classroom, pointing out that if there is a variety of tech options, students can move from one to the other and see for themselves which best suits their learning styles.

“I’m technologically greedy. If there’s a new adoption coming down the road, I offer up my students to the guinea pig gods of Trying Anything New,” she writes. “And I feel no guilt for my greed because I’m doing it to lessen my own learning curve and to serve my students a smorgasbord of technological choices.”

Wolpert-Gawron is as much a teacher during the summer months as she is during the regular school year, constantly preparing and looking for new ways to reach her students. She’s learning new tech, exploring and reporting on education technology news for her blog, and dispelling the myth that teachers just sit back with refreshing cocktails while the rest of the chums go about their 9 to 5 jobs.

So this summer, if you happen to come across a teacher you know or perhaps even a teacher you had when you were in school, remember that their job isn’t on hold at the moment. Even if they aren’t actively teaching students, they’re still in the mindset of an educator, preparing for the new batch of students and yet another high-stakes year of doing one of the most important jobs in the country.