Put the pencils, notebooks, and study guides away, it's time to take a break. As June winds down so does another school year across the Great Garden State. And as much as we like to say our kids need the break, nobody needs or deserves it more than New Jersey's great educators.

The past couple of years has especially been hard on them beyond what's already a long year of teaching. Our kids wouldn't be where they are today if it wasn't for the tireless efforts of our New Jersey educators.

This year was hopefully the closest to normal yet for both them as well as our students. I can't tell you how much joy it brought my kids to actually be in school with all their little friends.

Some of the teachers I spoke to even said it was such a thrill to finally so many of their students smiling faces once again after the mask mandate was lifted. All signs that things have been getting back to normal as the year progressed.

Open a school house
Getty Images/iStockphoto
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Here's something that's even more amazing. Many of the kids want to go to school, mine included. That right there shows not only how much they've missed being with one another in the classroom, but it's also a huge testament to every single one of our New Jersey educators.

You're the reason our kids are so happy to be in school and are getting a quality education. Not only are you passionate about what you do, but you've also been teaching our kids despite all the great challenges we've been faced with.

In fact, you even spend your own money in the classroom just to ensure your students get the tools that they need. It can be tough at times, but you always find a way to prevail.

A message for both teachers and parents
Mike Brant - Townsquare Media
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There's so much more you deserve than what you get, and there are not enough thanks we can give you for all you do. You really are the backbone of the future of New Jersey.

So as we enter summer break, hopefully, you'll get an opportunity to rest. And don't let those nay-sayers get to you that claim you're not working, because the weight of being a teacher goes well beyond the 180 standard days required inside the classroom.

Overuse sports injuries NJ New Jersey athletes
Overuse sports injuries: Why & how NJ kids are getting hurt (Thinkstock)
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Some of you might even be going beyond the call of duty and assisting with summer programs. The job of a teacher never truly ends, especially when you have to juggle a large class. If you really think about it, many parents have a hard enough time trying to juggle just their kids. You juggle them all and do an incredible job at it.

So hopefully with the summer months comes some time for you to breathe. Despite the very few that always seem to have a problem with that, the vast majority of us parents know how hard you work is, and we thank you for it.

Please make sure you take some time off for yourself before the next school year begins. You deserve it.

Monkey Business Images/Barsrsind
Monkey Business Images/Barsrsind
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