The kindergarten teacher’s summer schedule is almost as packed as her school schedule.
Stephanie Dunn, a teacher at Creekside Elementary School, is busy with her 4-H group.
She helps teach clinics at the Johnson County fairgrounds multiple times a week during the summer. Fair week has her checking in projects and volunteering at the fair. In July, she teaches three weeks of kindergarten camp.
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Her summer plans revolve around 4-H and taking care of her horses.
While local teachers get eight weeks off of teaching in a traditional classroom every summer, but many educators pack their schedules.
Local teachers take graduate school courses to work on their master’s degrees, totally revamp curriculum for the next school year, run camps and summer schools, work second jobs and travel with students to national conventions.
Some only take a week or maybe two of down time during the summer and have to schedule that time and family vacations the same as a typical worker who works year round, teachers said.
“There is that stereotype that other people have that say it is an easy job because you get so much time off,” Dunn said.
Adam Schott, a health and fitness teacher at Clark Elementary School, works a summer job at Smock Golf Course.
He just finished his fourth year as an educator, and the job allows him to have extra spending money, and he gets to be outside during the summer, he said.
Schott works the job year-round but may take some extra hours over the summer when he is not teaching, he said.
Working a different job besides teaching during the summer allows him to decompress and ready himself for another school year, he said.
Teaching can be a high-stress job, and some teachers need the change and in some cases, the down time, he said.
“On a daily basis, we are pulled 25 different directions,” he said.
Some teachers still will spend the summer with students and honing their teaching skills.
Barb Torrey, a family and consumer science teacher at Franklin Community High School, is taking some students to a national convention and to a leadership academy at Ball State University.
And she will be overseeing a booth at the American Sewing Guild national conference. Sewing is a class she teaches and her classes and clubs partner with the organization on special projects, such as making stockings for deployed troops.
Giving up most of summers is typical for Torrey, she said.
The summer is the time to get students to academies and teaching moments and to help organizations that have given to her classroom and clubs, she said.
“This is my club that I sponsor, and it is typical for me,” she said.
Summers for some are spent directly working on their classrooms and curriculum that they will teach the students.
Lauren Kibbe, art teacher at Westwood Elementary School, plans on spending part of her summer cleaning and organizing her art room, she said.
Teachers can get bogged down in the day to day and some tasks such as organizing supplies may fall to the summer, Kibbe said.
“It is a lot of organization and planning for next year,” she said.
And she will spend her summer planning new lessons for her students, she said.
Even if she isn’t actively planning lessons and is relaxing, thoughts of school and her students always come up, she said.
“It is not too far from my mind at any point,” she said.
Teachers need the time away to rejuvenate for the upcoming school year, they said.
Adults need the time to decompress and make sure they have a clear mind before tackling another school year with new students, they said.
“The summer break allows for the complete restart,” Kibbe said. “It allows for the restart button for students, as well.”