Archive for Thursday, June 2, 2005

What break? Teachers plan busy summers

June 2, 2005

Bryan Brutto hears it every year: You're a teacher? Three months off with nothing to do must be the life, huh?

"I laugh when people think, 'Oh, you get the whole summer off,'" said Brutto, who teaches sophomore English at De Soto High School. "I think, 'Well, not really.' It keeps going."

Summertime is open to interpretation for teachers, whose last day on contract for De Soto USD 232 was Friday. Some plan to spend their off-months traveling or relaxing, but others will use the break to make an extra buck by continuing teaching or working another job.

This summer, Brutto, who also is the high school's assistant varsity football coach, has planned a bit of everything.

His typical summer includes helping with football camps for elementary, middle and high school students; coordinating seven-on-seven games and summer weights for high school players; and teaching summer school.

Brutto also hopes to use the next couple months to wrap up a master's degree in school leadership.

"I am currently putting the finishing touches on my administrative degree," he said. "It's something that I've worked on continuously throughout the year. Summertime is kind of the culmination of all my classes."

During the school year, Brutto attended classes at Baker University's Overland Park Campus.

This summer, when he has somewhat fewer tasks to compete with studying, he'll complete a portfolio and get credit for an administrative internship by working with principals at De Soto High School.

As soon as she cleaned up and checked out of her classroom Friday afternoon, Mill Valley High School health teacher Amy McClure was free for the summer -- free to begin another full-time job at 8 a.m. the next morning.

McClure spent Saturday morning in CPR training and the afternoon at the Merriam City Pool, where she works as a manager in a quest to keep up on rent.

Mill Valley history teacher Nancy Dorsey said she planned to spend a good deal of her summer working for the school district by helping with curriculum planning. She'll also work part time at her sister's mortgage company.

"I do loans for her on the side -- a little," Dorsey said.

Nearing the end of her teaching career, Lexington Trails Middle School family and consumer science teacher Patty Parker takes a different approach to the off-season.

Parker, a widow and middle-aged grandmother, said this summer would be highlighted by a Snake River whitewater-rafting trip with a handful of friends from high school.

Last year, Parker and the same friends traveled to Hollywood.

"The last time I took a class I thought, 'What in the world am I thinking?'" Parker said. "My summers are time to be with family and friends and do fun things. I'm old enough that now I'm just trying to get all the living in I can."

Decorated with a picture of a palm tree, the white board in the Starside Elementary School teachers' lounge was available for teachers to note their summer plans. Items listed included planning a wedding, painting the living room and taking various vacations.

Many teachers welcome summer as a chance to spend more time with their own children, too.

Starside fifth-grade teacher Amy Grant plans to participate in a few teacher workshops for reading certification, but with more spare time than she has during the school year, she'll also keep her eye on her young daughter.

"She just turned eight months, so we're going to hit a lot of milestones this summer that I'll actually be able to see," Grant said. "So that will be fun."

Fifth-grade teacher Mandy Adcock spent part of Friday preparing journals for next year's new students.

She said she and most other teachers would have more time to relax during the summer but that teaching summer school, tutoring or doing curriculum work were commonly taken on by teachers during the break.

"We're always doing stuff," Adcock said.

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