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Teachers, let the public know you're #HerePastJune

By Samuel Reed III on Jul 9, 2013 10:55 AM

A word cloud I created during the Making Learning Connected workshop. This summer I will be a Maker, Teachpreneur, Thinker, and Learner.

School vacation, for many teachers, is not time off, but time on.

Contrary to popular perception, many educators don't spend the summers just relaxing at the beach or rejuvenating for the coming school year. Plenty of teachers take advantage of the summers by organizing, participating in professional learning communities, and lesson planning, among many other things.

On June 25, the first day of this “school vacation,” many Philadelphia public school teachers rallied in Harrisburg with more than 1,000 other teachers, counselors, nurses, safety workers, librarians, and others from across Pennsylvania to demand equitable funding for public schools.

On the second day of “school vacation,” I attended a half-day workshop offered through Arcadia University's continuing studies program. Christina Cantrill, a senior program associate with the National Writing Project and co-director of its Digital Is project, facilitated a hands-on workshop, where teachers had an opportunity to make, write, and remix, while exploring ways to match the demands of Common Core state standards with students’ interests and passions

The workshop was part of Making Learning Connected, an exciting six-week-long initiative that the National Writing Project has kicked off this summer. This collaborative, knowledge-building and sharing experience is designed as a “MOOC” (Massively Open Online Collaboration) and is open to anyone who’s interested in making, creativity, and learning. This particular MOOC incorporates "connected learning" principles and engages participants both online and face-to-face.

You can learn more about joining by visiting the Making Learning Connected website. All educators who work with youth in or out of schools are invited to participate and follow the hashtag #CLMOOC.

Sabrina Stevens, who runs the American Federation of Teachers' Voices from the Classroom project, is encouraging teachers to share what they are doing while school is out. As you work with students and colleagues this summer, share photos and videos of what you're doing using the tag #HerePastJune. Or share in the comments here what you see educators doing this summer. 

Show your work! The public needs to know that “summer break” is not something teachers take lightly.

Samuel Reed III, a teacher consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project, is an active member of the Teacher Action Group (TAG Philly) and has been teaching middle school literacy for 15 years.

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Comments (51)

Submitted by Andy Skop (not verified) on July 9, 2013 11:22 am
I am spending my summer supporting seniors at the F.L.C senior center in the hopes of helping 400 seniors graduate Monday through Friday 7:45 - 1:15. In-addition I attend Lasalle University in the evening from 5:30 - 8:30 for additional graduate work in the pursuit of another degree in TESOL (teaching English as a second language).
Submitted by Samuel Reed III on July 9, 2013 11:12 am


You are definately #HerePastJune! Thanks for sharing.

If you have pictures or images, you can share them directly with American Federation of Teachers' Voices for the Classroom at

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2013 11:09 am
Somebody needs to get the word out to the beaches of Avalon, Sea Isle and North Wildwood and tell them to get back here, then.
Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on July 9, 2013 1:30 pm
I am using every available minute of my summer vacation to educate myself/others about the funding debacle of the school district. A few minutes ago I listened to Camika Royal address this years Teach for America recruits. Her inspirational words are chilling. All who visit the Notebook should listen. Take fourteen minutes and listen to this wise woman.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2013 1:34 pm
Why does Teach for American (TFA) still exist? There are nearly 700 Philadelphia teachers laid off as of 6/30/13. TFA is "training" 700 people to fill teaching positions in September. Granted, not all are for Philadelphia but teacher lay off are national. TFA is the equivalent of a scab. More worth reading on the colonial mentality of TFA and its anti-public education agenda -
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2013 2:53 pm
I am no fan of TFA, but TFA teachers in Philly are subject to the whims of the job market as much as any other teachers. They have to interview for their jobs just like anyone else. The TFA teachers I have encountered in District schools are part of the union, and the TFA first year teachers at my school were among those 700 teachers who got laid off. TFA as an organization is extremely problematic, but I don't think vilifying teachers who happen to be a part of TFA is productive.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2013 2:28 pm
Here's more on TFA and the privatization steam roller happening in urban districts - Teach for America’s ‘scabs’ and principal (CEO) development "Just over a month after the 50 CPS school closings and firing of 550 teachers, the Chicago Board of Education announced an increase from $600,000 to $1.58 million in spending to hire 570 Teach for America teachers. Klonsky told Mint Press News that Teach for America contractors serve as de facto strike-breaking “scabs” – usually unknowingly. “They’re providing the non-union teachers for the charter schools and they’re almost like a scab organization,” he said. “What you do is you close public schools and fire hundreds of teachers like we’re doing here, then you open neighborhood charter schools and bring in Teach for America 5-week wonders who work cheap and last for about two or three years. Then they’re gone and another batch comes in... "The rubber meets the road in the relationship between the Chicago school restructuring movement’s goal of creating CEO-type school principals and Teach for America’s Principal Leadership Pipeline, which was launched in September 2007. The Principal Leadership Pipeline was a collaboration between CPS and Teach for America, financed by the Chicago Public Education Fund and the Pritzker Family Foundation."
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2013 2:05 pm
TFA are guaranteed a job. How many other job programs guarantee a job? If there is no need, why are 700 people being "trained" by TFA for September? While the individuals may be "unknowing," they are part of an institution determined to destroy public education. Claiming "I didn't know" doesn't cut it.
Submitted by Samuel Reed III on July 9, 2013 2:27 pm


Thank you for your tiredless advocacy. You definately are advocating for for equitable health services and education funding for our students #HerePastJune 

You are right the Camika Royal's piece spoke truth to power!

Submitted by Eileen Duffey (not verified) on July 9, 2013 3:35 pm
Thanks Sam. I forgot to mention what I have done specifically. I spent the first day of my vacation speaking in Harrisburg on behalf of Philadelphia students and because of the need to fight back against the so called education reform movement which is killing urban public education. Each of us needs to respond to the best of our abilities to this threat. Don't wait until you can make the perfect speech. Don't worry if your Philly accent makes you cringe. Get out of your own way and speak up for our public schools today. There is no time to waste.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on July 9, 2013 3:04 pm
Thank you Eileen. I listened and she is so right and so inspirational. So are you. Your undying devotion to our schoolchildren and our community is much appreciated.
Submitted by tom-104 on July 9, 2013 3:23 pm
Camika Royal and Diane Ravitch have been engaged in a dialogue about the crisis in public education for the past year. Below are posts on Diane Ravitch's blog which she has made about and with Camika Royal. The posts are in chronological order with the oldest being first, dated July 7, 2012. The last link is about the current video. TFA Alum Criticizes Reform in Philly: Video Disappears An Exchange of Views about TFA | Diane Ravitch's blog A Plea: Stop Using the Term "Achievement Gap" | Diane Ravitch's blog Do You Want to See Camika's Great Speech? | Diane Ravitch's blog Camika Royal Speaks Out | Diane Ravitch's blog Camika Royal Responds to Critics | Diane Ravitch's blog Camika Royal Tells the Truth to TFA Recruits | Diane Ravitch's blog
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2013 5:49 pm
Not that there is anything wrong with keeping up with your studies during the summer BUT we are only 10 month employees.... I do plan and work during the summer, but I also recharge and gear up for another hetic year to come. I do not feel the need to justify how I choose to spend my personal time. No other profession is asked to do that, why do teachers have to share how they spend time off work????
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 6:08 am
No other profession gets 10 weeks of summer vacation.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 1:20 pm
That has nothing to do with teachers. It was farmers and the government that demanded teachers stop teaching so children could help with the crops. You're still blaming teachers for that? Change it yourself if you don't like it, but stop acting like it's some big teachers conspiracy.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 7:06 pm
It's not a vacation. If you are not paid for the time, it's not vacation time. I don't get why this is so hard to understand.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2013 8:02 am
Right. It's personal time, private time - my time!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2013 9:17 am
Nobody stopped you from becoming a teacher.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 7:33 am
Ok. Then pay us for the summer months. The SDP likely won't be able to afford to open in September and you want to now pay us two more months worth of salary? Where is the money going to come from?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 8:12 am
Your salary, although you are 10 month employees, are for one fiscal year (12 months). For that year you are more than adequately compensated when compared to other public sector jobs. Check the salaries for assistant district attorneys. The tax payers should require you to work a full year like everyone else without any increase. Please tell me one other profession that has the same schedule as teachers
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 9:14 am
That's actually a good point when comparing all compensation. Someone making 60,000 for 10 months is the equivalent of a 72,000 a year employee (if they were paid/worked for 12 months)
Submitted by Consejera (not verified) on July 10, 2013 9:43 am
Then children should go to school for 12 months?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 9:24 am
Either that or teachers should receive more professional development on scientifically based education practices, preferably both. Learning the best practices is not one day of training but an ongoing process.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:23 am
Our government!
Submitted by Bob (not verified) on July 10, 2013 10:59 am
Wow, two days out of two months.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 10:54 am
College professors make quite a bit of money and they get summers off as well. Are you going after them or just public-school teachers? I would be happy to have more professional training but… Somebody has to pay for it I already have $92,000 in student loans for my undergrad and my graduate degree in education which nobody is helping me pay for.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 10:50 am
Districts should be responsible for ongoing profession development. Also, professors usually hold a doctorate degree and although they do not teach in the summer, they are involved with research. At least that's what the professors did at my university.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:36 am
Yes they should be responsible but they are not so we are back to the question of why public school teachers have to account for their personal time. Either pay for PD, pay us for 12 months or let it go. Private school teachers get summer vacations too. Do you require them to work for free then as well?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:48 am
I and other tax payers can account for your personal time because we pay your salary. We expect results and are not getting them. We can blame parents all we want but we can only control so much. Implementing best practices have shown that results can improve in the absence of good parenting skills. I blame school boards for agreeing to the current contracts. Most are made up of people that know very little about education. If you are unwilling to work 12 months at your current pay then we will find someone else that will.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:31 am
Well, with that logic police officers are responsible for the crime rates, DA's for criminals who go free and fire fighters for the fires they put out. Teachers provide a service, not a miracle cure for the ills of society!! No other profession has to deal with so much abuse. When did it become open season on teachers?? I chose this profession to help children not to justify myself to you. Look to the politicians who are privatizing education at the expense of children so they can pull six figure salaries with plenty of vacation time and NO on going education!! I do my job and I do it well but I resent you demanding that I publicly justify that because you pay taxes. So do I but I do not dema d you tell me how you spend your free time or choose to continue your education.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 12:31 pm
Look at suburban philly districts. Teacher contracts are posted online- six figure incomes for teachers are already here. Working a 10month position too! Anyways, your logic is flawed. How is holding teachers and administrations accountable a bad thing? I'm sure you look to the police if there is an increase in crime, or sanitation workers of your trash is not picked up. Are you saying tha there should be no accountability? Or if there should be how should it be measured?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 12:47 pm
Oh but you are not talking about suburban districts, are you??? Parents are more involved there and teachers are compensated much better. You are demanding that Philly public school teachers report to you what they are doing during the summer. You - the tax payer, do not have the right to demand from me, another tax payer, what I do with my personal time NOR do you have the right to blame me for societies issues with parenting, education or public school contracts. I might get upset if my trash is not picked up but I don't go and demand that the sanitation worker come by on their personal time to fix the problem. That is their supervisor's job. Just because you pay taxes does NOT make you my boss.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 12:18 pm
I've always been talking about teachers in general, not specifically about philly teachers. You never answered the question about accountability? You are using parents as a reason that suburban schools are compensated more and using parents for why philly schools do not get results? I think we can all agree that the system is broken
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 12:10 pm
Ok - accountability.... Isn't the SRC accountable for the fiscal mess that SDP is in? Are they not accountable for the irresponsible choices that have been made? For the forced privatization agenda being jammed down our throats? How about the union busting going on? Why do teachers have to quietly shoulder the burden of the doomsday budget? If it goes through the way Hite and the SRC want most of us will have a 26% (!!!!) pay cut. You cannot hold teachers accountable for this mess. On we are treated with the respect most of us deserve then I will be happy to discuss how we can improve public schools. Until then it feels intrusive to have "tax payers" demanding I justify my personal time.
Submitted by Education Grad ... on July 10, 2013 7:38 pm
Representatives and senators in PA don't work 12 months. In terms of the legislative year, they also work about 10 months per year given their long summer recess.
Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on July 10, 2013 7:59 pm
PA Legislators are considered part time employees but their salary certainly isn't part time: "As of 2013, members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are paid $83,802/year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive $159/day (vouchered) tied to the federal rate, which they can receive actual expenses or per diem. They may retired at age 50 and receive a full pension. Compare their compensation to other states: or "Pennsylvania pays its legislators a base salary of $83,802 and guarantees perks such as pensions averaging $31,314 and comprehensive health care coverage costing them 1 percent of wages. They get state-paid cars if they choose, and about $160 per day for food and lodging — payments that do not require receipts." Read more: Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook Only New Hampshire has more members in its House - they make $200/year. Only California legislators make more but they represent far more people (Penn. has 253 legislators and a population of 12.7 million; Calf. has 120 legislators and a population of over 38 million.) So, who is overpaid in Pennsylvania?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2013 8:40 am
Excellent point!! Well researched. Too bad it's been declared open season on public school teachers. We wi be blamed for everything, even trying to keep our unpaid personal time private is evil. Bah!!! Go figure.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:07 am
And college professors get grant money for research. They can also get paid for summer classes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:49 am
They get paid x dollars per fiscal year. What's your point? Also, what does a grant have to do with it? I interpret your comment to mean- I'd rather not have professional development and would rather sit on the beach. How is improving your skills a bad thing?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:26 am
Improving my skills is not a bad thing, please re read my comments. If I could afford to sit on the beach then I would not be a public school teacher, would I? My point is, that if you want me to work in the summer then you need to either pay me for the work or pay for the professional development. I cannot afford any more student loans. I am not a teach for America graduate who gets loan forgiveness. It is not that I don't want to Work or improve myself or my skills but I do not understand why I have to report to the public what I am doing on what is considered my private time. I do not have to post what I do on weekends now do I? I may even have a second job during the summer to supplement my income, but again that if none of your business!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 11:24 am
I have already made clear that my position is for the district to pay for PD. the district should be held responsible for efficiently allocating funds so you obtain the skills you need. Too many times districts freely spend and waste funds. All the while teachers are told this new "thing" will save the world. Oh then districts stop using product or service the following year. I hear your point. You should not bear a financial burden to maintain and improve your skills.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 12:38 pm
Fair enough. Until that changes then I believe private time is personal.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2013 12:07 pm
I will happily agree with you on that
Submitted by Stephen R. Flemming (not verified) on July 11, 2013 10:58 am
Intriguing dialogue there! Sometimes people's frames of reference are different. If the shoe were on the other foot, I think people's perspectives and opinions would likely change. Teaching, especially in this hostile time period, is one of those professions that drains you mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and any other "--lly". Until that shoe gets worn on the other foot, this dialogue can go on and on for weeks to come. I'm a teacher in Philadelphia. I love teaching! I love learning! I love reading up on my profession and becoming better at it. But I also love my "woo saah" time. I love the idea that I can rest my mind and body and come back in September rested and ready for my new group of 99 (3 classes of 33). 99 different families, mindsets, frames of reference, PRETEENS, etc etc.
Submitted by Garold Kole (not verified) on December 15, 2016 7:15 am

It is a pity that the teachers do not have the opportunity to have fun in the summer, to forget about business, classes, students and just relax, lying on the beautiful folding chaise lounge. The leisure contributes to the birth of new ideas and campaigns, innovation. No need to neglect it.

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