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Chuck's column: Ready for a break

It has finally arrived! Spring break is here! This is the week we all focus on once winter break ends! Yahoo!!!!

Ok. I'll give my exclamation points a bit of a rest, but we are all excited about the week to come. Many people in this business and even outside of this business who think it's "another week off for teachers," forget one little fact about what we do. Our clients are kids. Humans who just happen to be playing the role of students at the present time in their life span. As I tell my students when a new trimester begins, "I was a human being before I was a teacher and the human part of me is often more pronounced than the teacher component."

The same can be said for our kids. We need them to be students, certainly, but they are still kids. You can only push them so far before the "kid" part of them takes over. We ask much from kids today. We = parents, teachers, bosses, friends, society. Who can blame them for wanting to return to just being a kid sometimes?

I always struggle with my colleagues on the topic of homework over the break. The same goes for winter break. I always grapple with the notion that these are kids who are looking forward to a vacation. Realistically, when are many of them actually going to do the homework we give them? That's right. The night before we return from break. And how meaningful will that experience be for them? And what will the quality of their work be if they left it until the night before school begins again? You don't need me to answer those questions.

I also understand the argument about pushing our kids and setting the bar high. No one believes more in setting the bar high than I do. More and more it seems like not as many people set that bar high enough for our kids to be successful in their lives that await them. Parents included. I've taught enough years to have license to say this.

Our mom had us working when we were each 15 years old. She and Dad would help us from time to time, and at the time there were three of us, but for the most part, if we wanted something that was not a necessity, it was up to us to buy it for ourselves. Mom believed strongly in working for and earning the items we wanted versus the items we needed. We all turned out just fine with that system.

In any case, spring break is coming and, homework or no homework, we're all going to have a week to recharge before the long haul to June. Like every other vacation any of us have ever been on, this week will fly by; April Fools' Day will arrive, and the classrooms will be full once again. Then it gets interesting.

Where I spent the last five months praying for a snow day, now I'll focus on requesting lots of days where the sun doesn't shine and the warmth stays away. When spring arrives early, the job of educator becomes more challenging. However, the baseball season finally surfaces, the kids are in track and golf practices after school, and people shed long sleeves for short sleeves, and we all congratulate ourselves for making it through yet another one of Mother Nature's winters.

I'll likely be absent next week from our regular date here in the Pages. I will return for the final stretch to summer soon enough. Take a break in the meantime, will ya? You've earned it!

Chuck Brooks is a teacher at Rosemount High School. His column appears every week.