Alice Cooper should consider revising his lyrics. Instead of “School’s out for summer,” perhaps the song should go “School’s out for part of summer, but then you need to get back here and prep for the ACT.”
Anymore, schools start back so early after the summer break that it almost doesn’t make sense to call it a summer break. It’s more like an early summer respite. The laminators in the classrooms have barely cooled down before teachers are back and setting up their classrooms again. Schools that used to begin in late August or after Labor Day are increasingly moving up their start dates. Many begin the first half of August; some in late July. Class registration often is scheduled for when families would be at the beach. Because school starts closer to mid-summer, it’s still dark out for some kids. That means their parents have to put up klieg lights just to see the scowls on the older kids’ faces when they take the perfunctory first-day-of-school photos.
Credit testing—or blame it, depending on your point of view—for the earlier school start. When classes started in late August or early September, many schools did not hold fall semester finals until after the Christmas and New Year break. Having an earlier start and holding finals before the break makes more sense for a lot of schools. Who wants to come back after the holidays only to take a test on 1850s British Literature when visions of sugar plums, whatever those are, are still dancing in their heads? The earlier start also gives students more prep time before assessments and other big tests which are held early in the fall.
Although kids still get a summer break—no matter how truncated it may feel—adults can never stop learning, whether for personal enrichment or improving job skills. Even if continuing education is not required, there is no excuse not to take advantage of it. After all, we have so many opportunities and avenues available to us. If we can’t make it to an in-person training class, we can find plenty of live webinars. If we have a conflict during the webinar, the trainer will post a recording of it for those who want to watch it later. YouTube and Vimeo are chock-full of videos that can help us learn, and not just how to quickly fold a faded and tattered Metallica shirt that belongs in the Goodwill pile. If we can’t make it to the library and the book store in time, we can download a copy of a book that tells about the latest ideas and trends in our profession. Lots of instructional material is now available via social media, too.
Based on use of ABC Signup’s class registration software, we can see that training goes on year-round, and practically around the clock. Even if you’re lucky enough to be sunning on a white sand beach at this moment, you can still sign up for and take a class to improve your skills.
Have some thoughts on continuing education, or even school calendars? No matter what’s on your mind, we would love to hear from you via the form below.