Mr. D’s Tips for a Responsible Summer Vacation

Is there ever a time when teachers are despised more than during summer vacation?

When the rest of America toils on their regular work weeks, we get to get up at the ass crack of 12 noon (if we’re lucky) for a strenuous day of…well…okay, there isn’t much to do, but that’s fine.  We’ve been busting our rears cramming centuries of knowledge into the brains of Satan’s minions, so we more than deserve these months of R and R.

Still, we at the Neighborhood are loath to allow the fine educators of America to veg out completely–we may get year-round school, heaven forbid!  Let’s not remind our local political leaders of the inefficiency and backwards agrarian nature of summer vacation.  To that end, Mr. D has some tips to keep teachers busy at this most “strenuous” time.

(1) Travel–If ever was a reason to take up education, it’s the free time for extensive travel.  Sure, it’s off season for places like the Caribbean and Mexico.  Sure, Las Vegas reaches a balmy 117 degrees in the shade.  But you have loads of other places in the world to visit.  Try different kinds of herring in the Norwegian fjords.  Head up to Maine and force people to pronounce the letter “r” at gunpoint.  Furthermore, thanks to the digital camera, you can create a collage to cover the first week’s lessons, adding more to the illusion that you’re “working.”  Just don’t show the kids that late night photo of you sandwiched between Jorge and Ramon at that dance club in Ibiza.

(2) Take up a hobby–During the year, there’s scarcely any time for breathing, let alone a hobby.  Now you have plenty of time.  Golf has become a popular pastime, since it involves those great educator traits of patience, frustration and unwritten rules of etiquette.  Gardening is also fun, especially if you enjoy sitting in the sun knee-deep in animal manure.  It doesn’t even have to be outdoors: simply keeping up collections can pass the time.  I have a teacher friend that collects old fraternity paddles.  You can guess why.

(3) Home Improvement–Male teachers often have the chores for the summer to look forward to.  Almost as a rite of passage, men are given a “honey-do” list, a list of the repairs, improvments and projects that were never finished during the year, thanks to your devotion to America’s children.  These lists come in two varieties.  The first is the list of chores that your wife thinks are time-consuming, but can be accomplished in an hour and a half.  Try to pace those chores through the summer–“back aches” and trips to Home Depot help.  The second is the list of Robert Moses-sized public works that usually are done by contractors in normal households.  Here, the best solution is to get the simple foundation of the work out of the way, then claim that “I don’t have the tools for this” and hire a contractor that will undo all the damage you did.

(4) Exercise–It’s easy to spot a teacher; they’re the ones that got so flabby over the year that they make up for it with Marine-like stress tests for the first weeks in July.  Luckily, Mr. D maintains the same exercise regimen he had all year, so I’m in no mood for self-sacrifice.  Furthermore, I get in a lot of beach time, so that counts.  Still, insisting on “taking care of your body” is a good way to justify not doing things on your lists for fear of cutting into your gym time.  However, we won’t vouch for you if you’re caught with a cheeseburger and a cigarette later.

(5) Write a book–Last summer, I wrote a children’s book, and am still looking for a publisher.  It looks like I’m not alone in this endeavor, as many educators turn to their laptops in hopes to create the next great American novel.  The summer months are when you can become a “serious” writer, honing your craft and creating the next Harry Potter book while you delude yourself into thinking you can actually publish this crap.  It’s not until months later, when the rejection letters come, that reality sets in.  That’s when Simon, Shuster, McGraw-Hill, HarperCollins and the rest take you, and your worthless drivel, and give you a swift knee to the nuts.  In a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

(6) Take Workshops–the most obvious way to look like you’re “working” when you’re not.  Many teachers scoff at the idea of workshops,  but I find them loads of fun.  If done through your district, then you get paid for them.  They rarely are as intense as the school-year workshops.  Plus, you get to see educators, administrators and professors in a laid-back setting–with their natural, salty tongues.  I remember a workshop years ago where a prominent history professor called George Washington “chicken shit”.  That’s cool.

(7) Teach Summer School–thanks, but no thanks.  Any more school during the year, usually with the worst numbskulls imaginable, and that would lead me to # 8, which is:

(8) Drink–Whether you know it or not, teachers will be doing a lot of this during the summer.  With more time on their hands, many teachers (especially English and art teachers) have the opportunities for day-long benders, rampaging toots, the occasional Scotch in the bathtub, the whiskey breakfast, and of course the liquid lunch, dinner and midnight snack.  Please guzzle responsibly, by which I mean to not let administrators or children see you hammered.  Furthermore, for your own safety, take a gander at Larry Miller’s “Five Stages of Drinking”, linked above.   

Well, that’s about it.  I hope all my educator friends at the Neighborhood have a splendid summer.  I hope the administrators in the Neighborhood can salvage their summers after the hellfires of summer school.

Finally, to those politicians who want to abolish summer vacation, I have one action in mind.  It involves a quart of whiskey, a fraternity paddle, and your nuts.

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