It is the age-old joke that teachers only work for 9-10 months out of the year… Teachers, you hear this every year. The joke rolls around in June and you gracefully laugh it off. (Yes we know, that it may look or seem as though we get two months off to sit around the pool with a cool drink and a pink umbrella, but things are not always as they appear.) In reality, the life outside the classroom is an opportunity to catch up on PD, family time, certainly prepare for Septembre and so much more!

As a Teacher Candidate, I thought I would dive deeper into the topic. So, I asked myself: why not hear from real teachers to break the stereotype and understand what they TRULY do during their 2 month break! So, I did some research and asked over a dozen educators to tell me what is it REALLY like to be a teacher during the summer?

But first, I was interested to see what our little learners believe their teachers were doing during their 2 month break. I got a good chuckle when asking elementary school students what they thought their teachers would be up to this summer… And, to my surprise, some students believe that teachers work really hard!

K, a Grade 1 student, believes that we “talk to different teachers” and that we “watch TV and practice being teachers”.

C from Grade 1 believes that “they get prepared for the kids, they get ready to do stuff with the kids and buy new toys [for Friday Fun]”.

And, I, also a Grade 1 student, thinks that we “probably write down who is going to be in their class next year”.

Whereas, other students think their teachers spend more time relaxing than working over the summer…

E from Gr 2 believes that her teacher “… just sits around and goes places in the summer so she can have fun with her family”.

H from Grade 1 said: “They go in the hot tub and then go to a different country to have their vacation”.

My favourite testimonial is from S in Grade 1 who believes that teachers “do the calendar when we’re not here” and keep it up to date.

Our students may be right, but to fully understand the reality of teachers during the summer we need to hear from the teachers themselves. I’ve learnt from Derek Rhodenizer that all good deep dives begin with a proper introduction. This one is provided to you by the great, Noa Daniels (@noasbobs), take it away Noa:

“The summers off feature of teaching is an often discussed and, sometimes, misunderstood part of our overall professional experience by those looking. Besides the essential break from an intense and all consuming but perpetually motivating job, summer is more than a time to regroup. It is a time reflect, to plan ahead, to grow, to get ideas for poetry lessons from the sounds of nature, to see parts of the world to bring into Social Studies, History or Geography lessons, to think about the Math abounds, to inquire about and read where I want to grow professionally or am just curious and want to explore. To play with EdTech tools and consider how to improve my practice.  Summer is also a great time to build a BOB.”

Thanks Noa! Now that you have all these great ideas in mind, let’s depict what summertime TRULY is for educators:

SUMMER IS … time to pursue other passions

Some educators, like Jen Giffen (@VirtualGiff) are writers and will be “doing some writing for my district, finishing a pile of books (education related and non) from my bedside table”.

Not to mention she will be “Representing Canada at the Google Innovator Academy in Washington DC and presenting at the Eastern Ontario Google Summit”! Congrats Jen!

As for Laura Wheeler (@wheeler_laura) in Ottawa, she works “through July and then have August to fill my boots with camping, cottaging, and horseback riding!”

SUMMER IS … an opportunity to take on new projects (personal and professional) 

I am inspired by Chris J. Cluff’s (@chrisjcluff) summer mantra: “I’ll be losing the teacher in order to find me.” 

“This summer will be about saying YES to things that I have benched for some time now. I want to finally get some time back into relearning guitar. I am purchasing a longboard [skateboard]. I have signed up for a certification course in Meditation and Mindfulness. I want to leap out of summer, empty … and then a new adventure awaits in September…

Yes, teachers can skateboard too!

Catherine Tang (@EduScribblings) will be growing ideas and vegetables in her backyard in Kingston this summer! She says that: “My brain doesn’t shut off in the summer. If anything, it revs up as I process and prep for the next year. It’s my time to get my hands dirty and try things that I may want to introduce my students to. This summer I’m working on building my own Tiny House model and learning how to grow vegetables!

This is such a great idea Catherine, can’t wait to hear about your new projects 🙂

SUMMER IS … basically a continuation of the school year 

Derek Rhodenizer (@DerekRhodenizer) works hard for students and staff at his school in Ottawa as the Director of Academics. He also dedicates his summer to the success of the upcoming school year! 

As an admin, my summer involves a lot of getting ready for the next academic year, but I always make sure to take some time to recharge, get out in nature, reflect and get ready for the next year!

This is how I imagine Derek working this summer…

Un autre membre de la direction, Loir Fraser (@FrasloJ) de l’École secondaire catholique Le Relais, est passionnée par l’éducation. Elle est une vraie apprenante à vie! Cet été, elle met la gestion de côté et se concentre sur la pédagogie, la collaboration et l’innovation. 

Entre les camps d’été, les cours d’été, le ménage d’été et les lectures d’été, je planifie des rencontres de travail avec mes collègues et élèves, je discute d’approche pédagogique innovante avec mes pairs et je me donne une semaine complète où je ne mets pas les pieds dans l’école. L’école, c’est la vie! On ne cesse jamais d’apprendre. C’est que l’apprentissage occupe toute la place l’été et que la gestion est repoussée!

OCSB Teacher and University of Ottawa professor, Jennifer King (@JenniferNKing ) is dedicating her summer to teaching TEACHERS! She believes that “Teaching never ends! For the month of July, I teach teachers tech AQ courses from the comfort of my deck! #alwayslearning #alwaysteaching” It’s the best of both worlds!


Another educator who rocks my world is Rolland Chidiac (@rchids). 🇨🇦 Classroom Teacher, Rolland believes that “Most people think I have two months off and doing nothing”. If you think that, you are wong! Rolland’s summer can be divided into 3 larger ideas: REFLECTING, THINKING & PLANNING 

  • reflecting on the school year that just happened (what went well and what didn’t go so well)
  • thinking about the students I will be working with in September
  • planning learning cycles that will meet their needs but be flexible enough to meet their interests as well

SUMMER IS … time to learn, grow and better yourself

Rola Tibshirani (@rolat), teacher with the Ottawa Catholic School Board is a role model for professional development and betterment of self. Take notes folks…

She speaks for most teachers when she says that teachers are:

Spending time reading books and reflecting on how best it applies in their classrooms. Teachers catch up to online professional learning and connecting with other educators. Summer is a reflective time, productive time at an individual pace with lots of curation of innovative ideas to try with their new learners. Summer time is a training time to look forward to the next year!”Mind you my summer is more exciting than the school year learning for learning

D’autre part, dans le sud de l’Ontario, nouveau conseiller pédagogique en technopédagogie, Stéphane Girouard (@s_girouard) se prépare pour le monde de la technologie! 

“L’été pour moi est un temps de réflexion et de développement professionnel selon mes intérêts. Mes deux objectifs principaux sont d’apprendre davantage le fonctionnement d’outils technologique, notamment le Raspberry Pi et l’Arduino, et à m’avancer dans ma certification Google. Même si nous méritons bien notre temps de repos, l’été nous donne l’occasion d’objectiver et faire un développement professionnel sur mesure.”

SUMMER IS … time to be a Humanitarian

Two educators I know very well are dedicating some of their time and effort to people who need it most this summer. Elles sont des modèles accessibles et francophones qui illuminent un chemin vers un monde de bonté, de serviabilité et de respect.

En août, Stéphanie Quesnel (@StephQuesnel), direction adjointe à , dit qu’elle “voyagerai en Haïti, où j’aurai la chance d’offrir des ateliers à des enseignants là-bas!

D’autre part, Hélène Cormier (@malcommode72) est présentement en voyage humanitaire en République Dominicaine. Avant sont départ elle m’a expliqué: “Je pars pendant 2 semaines pour continuer un travail humanitaire que j’ai commencé dans le cadre du projet de mon école. Je vais avoir l’occasion de mettre en valeur “Vivir para sevir, servir para vivir”, vivre pour servir et servir pour vivre.” 

Bravo à vous! Je vous lève mon chapeau, mesdames.

SUMMER IS … time to do what YOU want!

Watch out, all the way up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, educator Peter Cameron (@cherandpete) has found an alliteration to represent his summer: 


Woah… Peter, you’re a genius. Why didn’t I think of that?


You’ve made it to the end! Congratulations!

I hope now that you have a better understanding of what teachers TRULY do during the summer. All in all, don’t underestimate the power of teachers. We are life longer learners who don’t often takes breaks. However, we do know how to find balance. As much as we love the break, we always look forward to being back in our school with our students… there is no better place to be.