Now that I’m back to school teaching, I’ve been catching up with my colleagues. A common question is “How was your summer?” Now that I’ve been on an academic schedule for a couple of years, the importance of summer as a time to connect with my own work has become apparent. This past summer I tried to pack in all the work I neglected throughout the school year.
My spring semester schedule looked like this:
* Teaching four classes
* Grading for said classes
* Answering student emails
* Student advising
* Advising SPJ student chapter
* Planning Media Day
* Working on Ph.D.
I also tried to attend to personal things, like running, biking, and spending time with my husband and other family and friends.
This summer I crunched to do the following:
* Supporting research for thesis (20,000)
* Finishing Part I of creative work for Ph.D. (40,000 words) and trying to write another 20,000 before the end of September to stay on track for a summer Ph.D.
* Various freelance assignments, including book reviews
* Readying essays and other proposals for submission to lit journals and festivals
* Prepping fall semester classes
* Teaching one online class
And as always, the aforementioned personal time with family and friends. I got in a couple of weekend getaways, plus running, biking, swimming, and walking the dog every day.
Is it any wonder I didn’t really start the school year as refreshed as I could have been? But I’m not sure I ever had a more productive writing summer, so that alone was worth the effort.
Lisa Simons said:
I think too often teachers/instructors get a bad rap for summers “off.” Are there people who do nothing all summer except eat bon-bons and watch TV? I’m sure. But they are so few and far between in my world of friends and family. Friends of mine without children of their own have other jobs during the summer. Parents with young children get to be with their children instead of putting them in and spending money on daycare (like I did when mine were little, although even teenagers can be demanding of my time). As a writer, the summers have been to focus on various projects. And I also teach in the summer. Do I have flexibility? Yes. But do I work nights and weekends and on vacation? Yes. So, really, instead of having summers “off,” I feel my summers are very much ON, just in a different place than in a school.
I will admit I didn’t really get the summer thing until I started to do it! I find it so hard to work on my own stuff during the school year so I’m viewing the summers as so critical. You’ve understood that for a long time!