As the school year comes to an end, students and teachers are beginning to make plans for the long awaited summer break. Torn between the relief of finishing high school and the excitement of starting a new chapter of their lives, seniors prepare to say their last goodbyes to friends and family and get ready to leave for college. Other students plan on attending hagwons, keeping themselves academically busy and getting ready for the upcoming year. As the longest break, a reward for successfully wrapping up a school year, summer break also allows teachers to explore their hobbies and interests on a deeper level than other vacations.
“It’s difficult to say that summer break is the most exciting because every break is exciting, whether it’s a two month summer vacation or one Monday off for Children’s Day”, said Kendall Sadler, English teacher. “That being said, summer break is still special because of its length, and it requires the most amount of planning because I have to make a long-distance trip to the States.”
While meeting old friends and family, traveling, and resting can be enjoyable experiences, summer break can be a stressful time due to the often intense planning involved. There are many factors to be taken into consideration while making plans; for instance, flights and hotels get sold out quickly due to high demand, requiring that teachers begin planning far ahead of time. Furthermore, extensive travel can be economically burdensome. Flights cost more during this time, as more people look to go on summer trips with their families or friends.
“I’ve been planning for this summer break since February”, said Patrick Young, English teacher. “It requires a lot of flights and logistics, and there are just so many things you have to figure out. For instance, the Raja Ampat islands have around 20 different places you can stay in, and you have to figure out where you’re going to dive, then reconcile those two things. So all of these different factors take a while to get figured out.”
However, despite all the tedious booking, planning, and paying, many teachers still eagerly await summer break particularly for their family reunions. Living 10,000 kilometers away from their home and not being able to see their families regularly, for many teachers, can be difficult. Teachers generally wait until summer break to visit their relatives, as traveling to America during the three week-long winter break can be a hassle. Such conditions ultimately allow for only one opportunity to visit family each year, making every family union very special.
“My husband, my daughter, and I are going back home to Oregon,” said Alyssa Shelby, biology teacher. “We will be spending most of our summer vacation there. We usually try to visit Alaska once a year because I have family members there as well. We just want a relaxing summer.”
While some teachers are only going to see their families and have a relaxing time with them, others are trying to fit in a packed schedule of traveling and make the most out of their long summer break. Every teacher has a unique summer calendar, but all of them share the common desire to make valuable memories surrounded by the people they love the most during the two month-long break.
“Since we just had a baby, we’re not going to travel too much, but we are going to Vienna, Austria for the first seven weeks,” said Jonathan Ames, US History teacher. “My mother-in-law is coming to see us in Austria, and she is going to be cooking us some Korean food. I will also be taking a weekend to go to London to watch the Yankees-Red Sox game, which I am excited about.”