Glass Half Full: The real story of summer vacation |

Glass Half Full: The real story of summer vacation

“How are you enjoying summer vacation?” School administrators hear that frequently. Sadly, while the pace of things certainly slows, and we actually have greater chance of focusing on individual projects without interruption, the work of any school continues throughout the summer.

There is recent business to wind up and huge preparation for the year to come: schedules, teacher contracts, updated manuals, curriculum tweaks, conferences, ongoing parent questions and concerns, building and vehicle maintenance and repairs, etc.

It is equally inaccurate to believe that teachers have two months of straight vacation in the summer. Yes, unless they teach summer school or hold a second job during the two months schools are not officially in session — and many can’t afford not to do one or the other — their days are much less hectic than during the academic year.

They are not staying up late to correct papers and prepare classes, then coming in early to fulfill their duties taking care of others’ children. Their days certainly contain more choice, and if you have ever spent time teaching, you recognize how vital that change of pace is.

Most parents are cheerfully ready to send their kiddos back to school in the fall, having been reminded of how much work it is to keep youngsters engaged and productive.

Professional development is a huge part of any educator’s life. All states require ongoing improvement as part of their credentialing process.

Summer frequently becomes the period in which teachers find they have the time to further their knowledge base in a gratifyingly focused way.

As a teacher friend recently said to me, “Teaching is a life style. Whether or not you are formally taking a course, you are always seeing new things to incorporate in your classroom, whether you are looking for them or not. You can’t avoid it. Your whole family gets involved!”

There is always a pertinent book to read, always something to add to your database.

This week, Lake Tahoe School offered 20 Incline Village teachers a three-day workshop under the tutelage of Professor Mahesh Sharma, former president of mathematics at Cambridge College and founder and current president of the Center for Teaching/Learning of Mathematics, Inc.

The mini-conference focused on the psychology and processes of learning math — concepts, skills, and procedures. Participants studied the role of factors such as: cognitive development, language, mathematics learning personality, pre-requisite skills and conceptual models of learning mathematics.

They learned to understand how key milestones such as number conceptualization, place value, fractions, integers, algebraic thinking and spatial sense are achieved.

Incline Village is an educational destination. Far from being a sleepy, remote, rural spot, our schools offer programs on a par with the best in the Bay Area.

As head of Lake Tahoe School, I am proud of the teachers in Incline and the time and energy they spend to be the best possible. The Sharma workshop paralleled the quality of any found across the nation.

Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at

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