Q: My principal has asked me to attend several workshops this summer. While the topics are interesting and would be helpful, I hate to give up my summer days. Part of the reason I became a teacher was so that I could have summers off with my own kids. And frankly, I need the summer to clear my head and refuel. Am I being unreasonable to want to protect my summer?
A: No, you’re not being unreasonable. But let’s think about some of the reasons your principal may want you to attend the workshops. Maybe she’s thinking that you could be a leader next year in implementing new teaching strategies the workshops offer. Or maybe she’s thinking that you need a refresher course or two to improve your own classroom performance.
While I understand your wanting to protect your vacation time with your children, we all need to continually develop our professional skills. Frankly, given the budget cuts that schools are facing, many teachers will be denied the opportunity for professional development this summer, so you may be among the lucky ones to be offered the chance to learn something new.
My suggestion is that you compromise. Talk to your principal about spending a couple of days in workshops to stimulate some new ideas and to fulfill your professional obligations. You may get some insight into why she wants you to go. And later as you’re lolling under the beach umbrella, the new ideas may take your mind off the oil sloshing up on the sand.