How Aspen teachers are spending their summer vacation
July 15, 2011
ASPEN – It may be summer vacation, but that doesn’t always mean lazy days and long vacations for Aspen’s teachers. In fact, many teachers spend their summer break working just as hard as they do all school year. The reasons they toil away in June, July and August are as varied as the jobs they do. But the bottom line is simple: teachers work in summer so they can teach during the school year.Aspen superintendent Dr. John Maloy sums it up this way: “Teaching as a profession is one of the most complicated careers today. It demands broad knowledge of subject matter, curriculum and standards; enthusiasm, a caring attitude and a love of learning; knowledge of discipline and classroom management techniques; and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. “Aspen School District teachers are some of the most dedicated professionals I have had the pleasure of working with in my 30-year career. Not only are they working with students to maximize their potential during the instructional day, but the teachers put forth an incredible amount of time and energy outside their work day …”With that in mind, we collected these “postcards” from a handful of Aspen’s working teachers as a reminder that the lazy days of summer aren’t always that lazy!••••Name: Amy CordSchool: Aspen Middle SchoolOccupation: French teacher, all grades What do you love most about teaching?Helping students acquire French language through T.P.R.S. (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) is awesome! Classes are more fun, and students are more successful than when grammar was the focus. Generally, though, I love teaching because it is creative, fun, and there’s nothing better than observing students become successful and/or experience great progress during the time I get to spend with them.What is your summer job? Exercising horses at a ranch in Old Snowmass, teaching yoga at the Aspen Recreation Center & Aspen Yoga Co-Op, volunteering for Windwalkers – Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy Center.Why do you work over your summer break? I ride because I love it, but I also because I get paid well, and I work for and with wonderful people. I teach yoga because I want to share its benefits with as many people as possible.In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation?I wouldn’t do anything differently, except for in a “perfect world,” I’d have a living space big enough for my family – who don’t live in the valley – to come and enjoy the summer with me.••••Name: Mike WesslerSchool: Aspen Middle SchoolOccupation: Eighth-grade math teacherWhat do you love most about teaching?Expecting the unexpected! It’s like a non-stop sitcom!What is your summer job?Teacher at Mare’s Playgroup at the Yellow Brick for students entering kindergarten, as well as tutoring and taking classes.Why do you work over your summer break?Money, experience, and I love hanging out with the little ones!In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation? In a perfect world .. Skiing!••••Name: Bob Gonzales, aka Mr. GSchool: Aspen Middle School Occupation: Woodshop and small engines teacherWhat do you love most about teaching?That my classes are fun and they learn how to use tools safely and wisely.What is your summer job?Painting, drywall repair and light carpentry.Why do you work over your summer break? (money, fun, experience, all of theabove)? All of the above…..In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation? Building projects for my family and friends. I always have to be working in the shop at home or at school…..that is where I am comfortable. Helping others out.••••Name: Steve KetchumSchool: Aspen High SchoolOccupation: Health and physical education teacherWhat do you love most about teaching?Interacting with kids in a positive way and motivating them. Getting them to think BIGGER, Aim HIGHER, and DREAM about possibilities.What is your summer job?My wife Mardi and I own, organize and operate the Aspen Basketball Academy Camps and World Wide Basketball Travel Adventures that run through the months of June and July every summer. We take Kids ages 12-19 along with parents on basketball tours around the globe during June and run basketball camps at AHS all July that feature top NBA, and college coaches and players for guest speakers. We also offer private 1-ON-1 basketball instruction.Why do you work over your summer break? We LOVE IT!!! We LOVE KIDS!!! Basketball and kids are a natural fit for us and we love to travel.In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation? On exotic beaches and traveling the world with family and friends.••••Name: Georgina LeveySchool: Aspen Middle SchoolOccupation: Sixth-grade teacherWhat do you love most about teaching?Every day is different. Some days are incredible and you know the kids are really getting something out of it. Other days are much harder, but you find there’s always a way to keep to moving forward.What is your summer job?Swim teacher.Why do you work over your summer break? I used to teach swimming because I had to, but now I use it as more of a bartering system. I love it, though, because a lot of what I do in the pool translates into my teaching.In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation? I have it pretty perfect right now. I’m fortunate. But maybe, in a perfect world, I’d spend half of my summer somewhere by the water and then the other half here. ••••Name: Jennifer LiddingtonSchool: Aspen Elementary SchoolOccupation: Kindergarten and first-grade teacherWhat do you love most about teaching?Teaching is the most rewarding thing! Every day I get to come to school and help mold the minds of our future leaders. I love watching the “light bulb” in their eyes when they finally start reading, or when they understand something new! What is your summer job?Tutor, caretaking and being a mom,Why do you work over your summer break? The tutoring and caretaking I do for money, as well as to help friends out!Being a mom is just for FUN!!In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation? If I could afford to, I would love to spend the summers relaxing, going to the spa, playing at the park. Possibly going away somewhere for the summer, to the beach renting a house! Or just taking a few extended vacations.••••Name: Kathy KlugSchool: Aspen High SchoolOccupation: College counselorWhat do you love most about teaching?The possibilities open to kids and introducing them to their futures.What is your summer job?Director, Teachers Across Borders, Siem Reap, Cambodia.Why do you work over your summer break? To gain a better understanding of the world, myself, the gift and art of teaching, and to help other teachers gain global professional development.In a perfect world, how would you spend your summer vacation? Read more, have a week with my whole family, hike Aspen mountain, teach internationally, and work out every day (in a pool or ocean).