Reading Life · Teacher Life

A Teacher’s Summer

June 13, 2018

Often people ask me, “What do teachers do during summer break?” Recently I have seen many people saying that teachers don’t need to be paid more because they only work 10 months a year. Today is the first day of my summer break (after two teacher workdays cleaning and moving classrooms), and I thought I’d share a little of what I’m doing.

Today, I feel compelled to make some reading plans. Summer is full of long, unscheduled days and still my list of summer reading is daunting. My summer reading includes many purposes. First, there is the pure pleasure reading and book club books. Then, there are the books assigned by my principal that must be read. I also signed up for some professional development classes that are book based classes. I’m changing grade levels, so I need to brush up on some current titles for the slightly younger set. And finally there is the tall stack of books that I have purchased, possibly started, but never really finished. I really want to dive into those books and check them off the list.

I am currently reading The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, as well as War and Peace by Tolstoy. I started that because of the PBS special “The Great American Read” — I can’t resist lists and that program came with a list of America’s top 100 books, so I picked the longest on the list to tackle. At least each chapter is short, so I feel like I can get a little read every day.

Here is my partial reading list for this summer.

Book club books

  1. Killers of the Flower Moon
  2. Little Fires Everywhere
  3. The Great Alone

 

Books for professional development

  1. The Growth Mindset Coach
  2. The Growth Mindset Playbook
  3. Embracing a Culture of Joy
  4. What Readers Really Do
  5. Joy Write

 

Books I have bought and want to read

  1. Angels Flight
  2. A Darkness More Than Night
  3. City of Bones
  4. Lost Light
  5. How Writers Work
  6. Poetry Matters
  7. Rooster Bar
  8. Lost City of the Monkey God

And the books I need to catch up on for my new grade level – I haven’t picked them out yet.

This is a small piece of what this teacher is doing over my summer break.

Reading Life · Slice of Life

4 Hours, 41 Minutes — Slice of Life Tuesday

4 hours and 41 minutes.

That is what my Kindle is telling me it will take me to finish my current library book, Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie.  I have 3 days and 8 hours before my loan ends and the title disappears from my Kindle library. How can 3 weeks go by so fast?

At the beginning of the summer, I thought I had a great plan for reading all of the books on my growing list. I simply put library holds on the books I wanted to read, using the Overdrive app linked to my local library, knowing that most of them had impossibly long lists of people ahead of me. If you have never tried the Overdrive app, it is simply amazing. You can link it to any library you choose. You can request e-books or audio books, and if the book is available you can start reading it as fast as it takes you to download. If the book has a wait list, an email will alert you to the book being checked out to you and ready for download. You can get Kindle format, or read on your device in EPUB or PDF formats (depends on the book). My school district has even partnered with our local library to provide ebooks to all students through Overdrive and their school id. And the best part — at the end of the loan period, the book just disappears — no late fees or last minute drives to the library to beat the clock. But as with all library books, if there is a wait list, you can’t renew the titles — you have to get back in line to borrow it again.

My plan was that my books would naturally pace themselves due to the long wait times. I was 30-90 people back from the top of the list for the most popular books I wanted — The Handmaid’s Tale, and Big Little Lies for example — the books I want to read before watching the shows (and probably everyone else in my area had the same idea).

At first, this plan worked well. For my first month of summer break, I would have one book to read and one on deck to read next. I even managed to read a paper book that had been collecting dust on my shelf. But then my holds caught up with me. I was getting 2-3 books a week checked out to me. I’m a fast reader, and I can usually cover 2-3 books during a summer week, but this book abundance coincided with a week’s vacation with limited reading time (I managed to read only 2 books, Camino Island by John Grisham and Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, primarily on our cross-country plane flights).

One year I assigned students the goal of reading and writing about a book a week. There were many days when I counseled students to make a plan to meet this goal — determine how many pages did they have to read each day to complete the book they chose, look at the rest of their commitments/assignments and determine how they would get this assignment completed. So now, I will counsel myself. For the next 3 days, I have to read at least 2 hours each day in order to finish this book before it disappears. I have to work this around other commitments, including a live-stream Drum Corp International event from Oklahoma tonight in which my 21 year-old son will be performing, getting my 18 year-old son through his college check-off list, my daily exercise and music goals, and basic household responsibilities.

I guess I need to go read…                             .225x225bb