Year Round School
The idea of year-round school is growing in popularity among politicians who believe it will help save our “failing schools.”
Many districts have experimented with the year-round school model, which actually still maintains the 180 day school year, but distributes the breaks differently. Instead of getting two months for summer, students get longer holidays during the school year and only a three or four week summer break.
There are pluses and minuses to this model, but it seems to benefit the lower socio-economic groups and hurt the higher socio-economic groups.
Research has shown that for a multitude of reasons, including parents working multiple jobs, the lower socio-economic kids often lose what they’ve learned faster because they’re not applying it over the summer. The higher socio-economic kids often spend their breaks doing enriching activities like art camps or trips to the science museum. Their knowledge is being reinforced and multiplied during summer break with real-life experiences. Take that long summer break away and it helps those low socioeconomic kids from losing focus and knowledge, but it also takes away the higher socioeconomic kid’s chances to go to sports camp or art school.
The greatest negative occurs with high school. By the time kids reach sixteen they can get a full-time summer job. Having those two months in the summer allows them to get real on-the-job experience, as well as bring in money for their family and learn responsibility. Year-round school doesn’t allow for a long enough break for a full-time jobs experience. Overall, the judge is still out on whether year-round school can really improve learning (or test scores). Check out this site for 16 pros and cons of year round school.
As a teacher, the summer break is a chance to re-group and re-cover as well as a chance to enhance knowledge and expand our own horizons. There are so many opportunities out there for teachers interested in taking classes and even traveling over the summer. Check out The National Endowment for the Humanities if you’re interested in amazing opportunities. They offer classes around the world in history and literature. And they’re not the only ones.
Interested in traveling the world? Ok with taking a few very well qualified students with you? Look into People to People. Let’s not forget you’re living on a teacher’s salary. If you don’t want to teach summer school you can earn some additional income doing something totally different that interests you. Or hey, you could write a book, wink. Shameless plug: A Wannabe Teacher’s Guide: Getting Hired, Having Fun, and Staying Sane AND my novel Have Mercy (one of the main characters is a teacher).
Check out these other posts for more helpful tips: