Not only is summer a break for students, but it can also be a break for teachers.
Smith-Cotton Director of Bands Grant Maledy plans to fill his summer, at least what’s not already filled with National Guard training, with camping. Maledy and his family have been working on camping at every Missouri state park together. They started their project after his daughter was born, and they are now at six of all 44 parks.
FACS teacher Kathy O’Dell plans to spend lots of time with her family, friends, and horses. O’Dell competes in trail and obstacle courses for horses in multiple competitions over the summer. She has some big events planned, but also some smaller, local shows. O’Dell competes in two organizations, CT2V (Country Tough Trails Versatility) and ETS (Equine Trails Sports). This summer will be her second year competing.
“I wanted to improve my horsemanship and my horses’ abilities,” she said. She found local competitions to attend and grew from there, eventually becoming last year’s National Reserve Champion.
English teacher Michael Kailus will be co-officiating his sister’s wedding with the help of his brother. Kailus is very excited to be a part of such a big milestone for his sister and help welcome her fiancé into their family. Although Kailus is not a justice of the peace or clergy, he titles himself as a human celebrant, someone who officiates a wedding for people who don’t necessarily want a religious ceremony.
Teachers also spend some of their summer at school. Maledy runs band camp through the last week of July and beginning of August. He attends guard and percussion camp and then brings in the rest of the band. Band camp takes a break during the Missouri State Fair; the Tiger Pride Marching Band always marches in the fair’s opening day parade.
Between spending time in the National Guard and with the band, Maledy doesn’t have a whole lot of summer left.
“Summer is really only three or four weeks long for me,” he said.
Another part of a typical teacher summer is conferences and professional development opportunities. Kailus plans to attend a conference to help students who are English language learners; he also will attend Gencon in Indianapolis to get ideas for the chess and board game club, and will work on his thesis for his master’s degree.
Kailus adds that conferences and PD days are important because it shows a teacher how to run their classroom better. Another important factor is that the teachers are learning new things. Kailus claims there is no teacher who knows everything, and that a teacher should constantly be learning new things. PD days can help teachers accomplish that.
“It’s to help you model lifelong learning,” Kailus said.