We started school the 2nd week of August. Seriously.
We got a random Friday off in October. From what I understand, some genius in our district administration determined that October is when teachers start taking 3 day weekends, so the district decided to give us a 3 day weekend so we wouldn't just take a Friday off (substitutes can get very scarce on Fridays); I heard that plenty of teachers across the district just took that Thursday off and made it a 4 day weekend instead!
Our semester ends the Thursday before Christmas, instead of Friday. Nice.
We get another "please just take this Friday off instead of requiring a substitute" Friday off in April, and school ends early in the week in June instead of the end of the week. By my reckoning that accounts for the 5 days early we started this year, as we would usually start a week later in August.
There are 4 school weeks (minus that last Friday) between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. After tomorrow we'll have one week down, three to go. Two of those weeks will be "regular" weeks, and the last one will be final exams week.
In 2 of the 3 courses I teach, I excuse students from the final exam if they have a 97% course average going into the final. I'm not known as an easy grader--fair, but not easy--but I have several students each year that don't have to take my final exam. Reward for them for a job well done, slack for me because that's fewer finals I have to grade. And no, I don't do Scantron tests. There are things that can be learned from the results of a Scantron test, but not enough in math for me to justify giving them. I give bona fide tests, and I grade each one.
We teachers go back to work the Monday after New Year's, but our students don't show up until Tuesday. That Monday is a work day for us; we grade our finals, enter grades, and take a long, leisurely lunch that day.
And a week or so later is the Dr. King (birthday) Holiday. And less than a month after that is our February President's (nee, Ski) Week holiday.
I don't mind teaching in the cold months so much. Lots of time off! Last week I had a week off, and in 3 more weeks I'll have another 2 weeks off. I can't believe it's December already!