Below is a guest post from a DeKalb teacher, Nikole.
This past week’s impromptu winter break has only solidified my stance on a balanced calendar. We need more breaks! I actually would prefer year round school, but it seems that a balanced calendar with an earlier start date and breaks throughout the year, is the closest I could possibly get to that in Dekalb. I also have to admit that I am a teacher and NOT a parent. But I think a balanced calendar is a win for us all.
I’m tired. Exhausted. Extremely exhausted. And this break was just what I needed to recharge and make great plans for the next few weeks of school. I work in a challenging environment. My school suffers from high transience, low test scores, and behavior problems out of the ordinary. And that takes its toll on teachers. You lose your passion for teaching in these conditions. Meaningful lessons take a back seat to just making it through the day without incident. It’s just not fun.
But returning from summer break always brings a positive outlook. Teachers and students are excited and refreshed. Everyone’s on their best behavior and lessons are phenomenal. We’ve had plenty (I’d say too much because I’m a year round proponent) of time to plan for our kids.
Every year, I hope and pray that Dekalb County School Board will give me the time to reboot throughout the year and every year my hopes are dashed by Dekalb County School parents! I’m writing this to beg of you, please, please, please stop voting down the balanced calendar! It appears that teachers and students (those of us actually in schools) actually prefer a balanced calendar. It’s the parents that want to keep it traditional. And why? What is being gained? My teacher-centric view says that happier teachers= happier students=happier schools.
I’d like to take this opportunity to address the most annoying excuse for a traditional calendar each year. Child care. I’m not a babysitter! Saying we should keep this calendar so that I can “watch” your kids is demeaning. Further, a balanced calendar does not change the number of days we are in school. Who is watching your kids all summer? Supply and demand suggests that those same institutions will be open during break times that align with the school calendar.
And as an added bonus, for all of you that like to travel on breaks- you can take out of season (cheaper) trips. Amusement parks in October offer great weather and cheaper prices.
Better teachers, better lessons, better vacations, what’s not to love? Just a few things to consider the next time we vote for a calendar.
Readers: This is the opinion of one of DeKalb’s teachers. Please share your own opinions in the comments.