Oftentimes we find ourselves in conversations with a variety of people. Some are very aware of what is coming out of their mouths. Some are not. The ones that are not, really need to be. It’s through these seemingly minor comments and phrases that one can really tell a lot about a person. I’m finding this more and more when others comment about my job. The inaccurate perceptions and stereotypes come right through, as if they were waving a red flag.
He’s just teaching.
You get your summers off.
What do you do during the summer?
Aren’t you done at 2 o’clock?
I’m sure many of my teacher friends have more that they can add to the list. Many of the comments are in regard to our “summer vacation.” What I always say is that my summers off are planned unemployment. I am not paid during that time. And for that matter, I do not get holiday or vacation pay. I only get paid for the time that I am physically at my school.
As for what I do during the summers? First of all, I recover. If you’re familiar with this blog, you know that I typically write in June about “coming down” from school. I also do things in the summer that I was too tired or overwhelmed to do during the school year. They past few summers I have taken classes. I usually try to travel. Sometimes I prep for the next school year. Some years I’m doing activities with my union. This year I’ll have board meetings to attend. It’s kind of like asking a retiree what they do with their time. It’s my time and I get to choose how I spend it. Please don’t make a judgement. It’s not your place to judge.
I’m not really into ranting on my blog. This isn’t really a rant anyway. But sometimes people say some really stupid things and they have no clue. When it’s a little comment I often let it go. It’s later, when I’m replaying the conversation in my head, that I realize how clueless the person is about teaching.
Making a comment that has a judgement aspect to it can be dangerous if you don’t know your audience. If you’re coming from a position where you are not an authority it can be very bad. Anything that belittles someone or something should be filtered before it leaves your lips. I’m sure there are things that I don’t know much about. But I at least try to ask questions and don’t pretend to be an expert. I think my filter is pretty good. Is yours?