Letters to the Editor

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VACATION: Summer trips can be educational, too

Letter by John C. Spafford, Tacoma on July 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm with 8 Comments »
July 12, 2011 2:11 pm

I enjoyed reader columnist Bob Turner’s article about his family trips during the summer (TNT, 7-11). His experiences parallel my own.

My parents were both schoolteachers and I, too, would spend my summers in a camper with my parents, brother and sister traveling the United States. I can remember our summer trip in 1974 when I visited Seattle for the first time and my Dad bought our first electronic calculator.

I have grown up to be a schoolteacher myself, and I have tried to share my love of traveling with my own family. Each summer for the past seven years, my family has picked out a different region in the United States to visit. While a trip to a theme park or the beach is on every itinerary, so is a trip to a national park or other historical sight.

I believe that these firsthand experiences have helped my own kids in the classroom. History comes alive when you’ve sat in the same chair that Robert E. Lee did when he surrendered to end the Civil War or looked out the same window that Lee Harvey Oswald did before he fatally shot President Kennedy.

And there is plenty of history right here in our own backyard. A day trip to Mount Rainier or Mount St. Helens can be as informational as entertaining, and don’t forget about the world-class museums right here in Tacoma. So put down the remote and go!

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. Excellent letter. How better to learn to appreciate the dynamic nature of our fabulous country. Besides, I like road trips.

  2. WarmNfuzziOne says:

    You can’t sit in the chair that Robert E. Lee did, nor can you, at most times, look out the window where Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t shoot JFK. Heck, I guess if you’re a child of public school teachers you’d believe in things like the Lone Gunman theory of the Kennedy assassination, magic bullets, and probably pixies.

  3. WarmNfuzzie? You need a vacation- might I suggest a road trip?

  4. Flanagan says:

    Ah, to be a teacher, and have summers off to explore the world. No wonder no one has pity on them when they whine about not being paid enough.

  5. harleyrider1 says:

    You are correct. It’s difficult to get people to understand, but once they take a trip to Washington D.C. and walk around looking at our historical buildings, reading the tombs, they start to take ownership.

    They begin to have some pride in their own Country. They resent people trashing where they have been, or bombing a building they have seen personally.

    And they become a better, more intelligent voter. They learn that individuals – not political parties – built this country. They tend to vote the best person and not the party line.

  6. alindasue says:


    Teachers work for as long as the school year, plus a few weeks of planning and preparation time. The option for year round school has been brought up many times over the years, but parents complain that it limits their vacation opportunities. Personally, I think it would expand them… but that’s irrelevant. Don’t blame the teachers for the length of the school year.

    Some people have all the free time in the world and never explore beyond their local area. Others can take a couple weeks and turn it into the adventure of a lifetime.

    Even with only a weekend, there is much to explore and learn from just in this state alone. You can see where Lewis and Clark met the Pacific Ocean, visit a petrified forest, explore the Dry Falls that were one many times the size the size of Niagra Falls, explore active volcanoes and glaciers or visit the sites of giant glaciers long past. You can visit old WW I military outposts. You can take your children to see the ocean, mountains, rainforests, and desert. There are three national parks and at least two national monuments. All of that and more is within a days’ drive.

    You don’t need to have summers off to explore the world. All you need is curiosity and a desire to learn.

  7. tree_guy says:

    Teachers have both the time to travel and the money to travel. That distinguishes them from virtually every other worker.

    Many of us in the private sector would like to take our families on some wonderful adventures but our outlays for the teacher supporting property taxes are becoming so burdensome that we can only dream.

  8. WarmNfuzziOne says:

    Well, gee, if the rest of us worked only 8 months a year, we could have ample vacation time with the kids.

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