I have two schools. First, there’s my working school. As the name suggests, it is the school where I work. It gives me paychecks and fun lunchtime conversations. I get a nice summer break from this working school.
Then, there’s my other school, the one I attend. I just finished the last of my credential courses and am now working on my master’s. This schooling sometimes feels like it will never end, which means that on good days I fancy myself the perpetual student, and on other days I call myself a glutton for punishment.
I’m entering my second summer in a row when I haven’t been truly “off” from school, due to textbook-reading and paper-writing assignments. This summer, I have the added pressure pleasure of these lovely, looming words: literature review.
A literature review is a summary presentation of the bulk of research you have done for your research project (in my case, a master’s thesis). It will likely cover some classic texts on your topic, as well as contemporary studies. The purpose of the literature review is to provide background information on your topic and demonstrate your particular project’s relevance to the world of general knowledge and usefulness.
My thesis topic focuses on parent perceptions of students with learning disabilities in Hispanic communities. I haven’t fine-tuned it from there, but that’s where I hope the literature review process will come in handy. Note the uncertainty of that statement — it means I haven’t done the literature review yet.
By this point in the summer, I could have feasibly completed my literature review. After all, my working school year came to an end in mid-June and doesn’t start up again until mid-August. There’s a lot of free time in that window. But instead, I camped, went swimming, entertained visitors, watched my cousin get married, deliberated over princess cookbook recipes with my daughter, and encouraged my son as he morphed from timid biker into full-on enthusiast. I’ve done what I’ve been assigned to do for my schooling, but nothing extra.
When the start of the school year rolls around, I’ll be burning the midnight oil at my computer, implementing lesson plans by day and critiquing peer-reviewed journal articles by night. I’ll gladly take that heavier workload a month from now, when I’m fully rested, than spread that workload out over the summer so I never even take a break.
Time management is unique to every person. Some people like to go, go, go. I can even be that person, from mid-August to mid-June. But I treasure my time outside of school, too. Summer is that time. I spend it with family, I spend it in the sun, and then I happily return to school ready to punch the turbo button.
To any researchers out there looking to study teacher perceptions of a restful break between responsibilities and obligations: Send me the informed consent. I’m all in.