What Do Teachers and Jersey Shore Have in Common?

gtlOne exhausted night at the end of May 2011, I got sucked into a Jersey Shore marathon and began to wonder if teachers could “GTL” like the overly-tanned and overly-paid reality show MTV characters. According to the oh-so-charming Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, the GTL acronym (Gym, Tan, Laundry) was designed to help “bros” everywhere understand that they must GTL everyday in order to look their best.

After a moment of self-pity at having survived the first wave of Common Core roll out and a variety of other new accountability initiatives (see past blogs), I embraced my inner mojo and decided to spend my summer doing nothing but going to the gym, working on my tan, and doing laundry (I translated “laundry” into doing anything else that made me happy).

And guess what? It worked! For exactly 7 days, I engaged with my long forgotten treadmill, lounged by the pool with a smutty vampire book, and took random trips to the local beauty mall.

And then . . . the workshops happened. [ Because it’s difficult to fit professional development into working with students full-time, most of us teachers schedule the bulk of our training during our summer vacations].

Then, after about 3 weeks of training, the extra jobs started. Not-so-news-flash: most teachers have to work 1-2 side-jobs to supplement their incomes – I’m no exception. I spent the next 5 weeks of my summer vacation deep in Common Core curriculum revision, created workshops and resources connected to new teaching standards, worked with National Board candidates as they geared up for their new school year, and worked with the Center for Teaching Quality to learn how to become a virtual mentor.

In short: I had no real summer vacation in which to “GTL.”

Could I have said no to all of these side-jobs and professional growth opportunities? I suppose so. Could I have paid my bills or increased my intrinsic motivation to remain in the teaching profession? Nope.

In a recent blog post, Mike Lee wrote about the teaching profession being regarded as a 9-month seasonal gig. As someone who wants her profession to be regarded as more than woman’s work, I’d much rather be paid a professional wage to work through each summer to refine my craft – especially in times when the voices and contributions of teacher-leaders are so critical to education reform. . . and yet. . . school hallways are empty each summer.

Mike “The Situation” says, “if your shirt looks bad, it makes the whole product look bad.” Am I the only teacherpreneuer wondering if the summer shirts of our profession are looking bad right about now?


Alaina Adams

Dr. Alaina Adams

Phoenix, Arizona

My name is Alaina Adams and I am a Board Certified educator who has taught a variety of English Language Arts classes in middle school, high school, and higher education contexts for the past 12 years. I am currently working as a leader in full-time training in the Phoenix Union High School District and love the new perspective it brings for teacher leadership development in my urban, secondary setting. In addition to working in an administrative capacity, I also coach teachers on my campus, district, and across Arizona as they engage with the National Board Certification process.
When not working towards total world domination, I am the mother of a teenage daughter, enjoyer of live music, and am an all-around text-messaging, Twitter-following, and Facebook-posting human being.

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