While it would be incorrect, and perhaps mildly blasphemous, to equate teachers with pastors, I've seen more and more over this summer (and over the past several years) that teachers too are "always on". Even though classes only go from 8am-3pm and the school year only runs September-May, there's rarely a time when a teacher is no longer defined by his/her job. We may go on vacation, or go out to dinner, or simply go grocery shopping, but there's never really a time when you're safe from running into students. Whether it's email, Twitter, or in person, they're always around! Now for some, this is scary. These teachers just want to clock out and revert to their "real" self and leave their teacher-persona at home. What I've really found this past year, especially the past six months as I started attending more school events and getting involved more in conferences and blogging, is that it's much more rewarding if you lean in and embrace it. It's been said by some that teaching is an intersection of content, curiosity, and relationships. All teachers have the content down (we hope) and we all strive to build curiosity (at least we should), but only by being "always on" can we really build that relationships component to make real learning happen. Just like with pastors, our greatest lessons may not be taught in formal sessions, it could simply be making connections that survive into the real world.
(Disclaimer: Between almost 20 grad parties, 35 Pirates games, and many trips to Chipotle, I've ran into many more students than ever before this summer. Sometimes I surprised them, but most of the time they surprised me. It's been an adventure, and hopefully it'll make this coming school year that much better.)