Tomorrow at noon I will be officially on summer vacation. To say that I am excited to be on break would be an understatement. (See here for an end-of-year reflection where I try to come to terms with my feelings surrounding this very challenging school year.) At the same time, the end of the school year is always bittersweet. There is the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with having spent an average of 180 days of the year with students and adults in a very closed environment that often breeds the worst and the best in all of us. Then, there is the anticipation of renewal as we look forward to the summer months full of days without having to be regulated by an alarm clock. Yet, the truth is that many of us may still get up at the crack of dawn to attend to graduate work, personal and/or professional writing, or just to steal a few minutes of peace before everyone else in the house wakes up; this is not much different from what happens in my house during the school year.
The summer is always over way too quickly for my taste. It seems that September rolls around before I’ve had a chance to get into a routine that feels comfortable. I end up with a pile of books I intended to read, still unread. I have appointments that I planned to make that end up getting pushed to the fall. My “to do” list of projects barely has a scratch on it.
So, my new goal this summer is to take one day at a time and to try to enjoy that moment to the fullest. I will have some projects to work on but I won’t bathe myself in disappointment when I find that I couldn’t finish all ten projects and that, of the 20 books I had lined up, I only read two or three. Instead, I pledge to take each day as it comes and to do as much as I am able without getting frustrated, disappointed, or anxious. I’ll remind myself that, ultimately, I am on vacation, a well-deserved one at that, and I will carve out some time each day so that I don’t forget this simple fact.
So, there you have it. My summer manifesto, of sorts. What’s yours?
Posted to The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life
I’m trying very hard to finish this year on a positive note. I don’t want to leave for the summer feeling sour and negative. However, when at every turn it feels as if doors get closed faster than they’re opened, it’s not easy.
Teaching shouldn’t be so hard. Teachers should be supported in their work and administrators need to be the ones to do that. I am feeling disheartened despite repeated attempts to brave the storms. I have even considered quitting my present job in order to gain some perspective on my professional and personal life.
But something is holding me back.
Is it pride in my past accomplishments? Possibly, but it’s not the determining factor. Is it that I don’t want to let down my ESL students, most of whom will be with me next year? Very likely. Is it the thought that this year has been an anomaly and the hope that next year has to be better and so let’s give it another shot? Possibly.
What is certain is that I will be doing a lot of soul searching this summer about how I’m going to approach the coming school year. Nothing new here. I do this every year just like most teachers I know. However, as I look ahead to my vacation, it’s starting to feel small and crowded: too many projects lined up and not enough time and space in which to do them. But, that view is from today’s hectic end-of-year perspective. Once I wake up Thursday morning and realize I am finally on vacation, I will be able to take a deep breath and start the necessary work that will get me ready for the coming school year. Some of this “work” will be “play” for myself and my family, and some will be professional reading and planning that teachers do every summer. One project I will be involved in is Teachers Write, which starts tomorrow, June 24th. Come join us.
And, I’m off and running.