Wednesday, August 6, 2008

28 More Days...

...until the first day of school.

Like most teachers, I greet this news with mixed emotions. I love summer. It is good for the soul, the mind, the body, and everything else. I love the sleeping, the skimpy clothes, the fresh veggies, the cocktails, the ocean, the flowers, the tan skin, the free time. I love that I have time to read, or write in my journal, or chat with my sister on the internet, or go for a walk. I love that I am half-heartedly working on some projects for work, but only when I feel like it. I love that I no longer have anxiety dreams about the first day of school this early in August. I love that when I wake up in the morning, I shuffle into the kitchen, and it's already sunny out, and I open the back door so the sun and wind come in, and I get the paper, and I start the coffee, and then I sit and drink my coffee on the deck while I read the news.

So I'm glad I have 28 more days of summer vacation, although in only 19 days I'll be back in the school building, and my mind will be consumed with thoughts of pictures to laminate, folders to label, shelves to move, and endless last-minute trips to Staples. I fully intend to make good use of these last two weeks, and also to continue to live a less-harried life during those funny days when I have to be at school getting ready, but not with children. Those are my last days when I get home not fully exhausted, and can go out for a drink after work, and can sleep until 7:30 instead of getting up at the crack of dawn, and can stop at the bakery for coffee and a goodie on my way to work.

I recently read, in the little yellow book about happiness, that people who only work part-time are happier than those of us with full-time jobs. This correlates with the revolutionary theory, also put forth by the author of the little yellow book, that one way to be more happy is to spend more time doing things you enjoy. Just those little things, like enjoying your coffee while watching the birds at the feeder, or a cup of tea on the couch with a good book, or a crossword puzzle over cereal. Those moments are the ones I try to focus on when I am sad, when it's winter and finding something to look forward to is hard to do. And when we are teaching, we have less time for those small moments of just being. It's a fact: teaching is consuming, and most of us work very, very hard at it.

On the other hand. Today I was at school, industriously photocopying, when I got to see a couple of my students from last year. Or, rather, first-grade students from last year who will, in 28 days, be my second-grade students. Now, I am not one of those emotional teachers who clasps her heart and sighs whenever she speaks of her kids. Sometimes I love 'em, and sometimes they drive me crazy. But, it felt great to see these two. They came into the office to say hi, and smiled those shy but warm smiles of little boys who are really and truly glad to see their teacher again. We made small talk, we hugged, we talked about the first day of school, and then they headed out with their moms to go home.

It's been awhile since I've liked a class as much as I liked last year's class, and I remembered that today when I got those hugs and smiles. I have never before faced a room full of familiar faces on the first day of school, and already known their strengths and weaknesses and what makes them laugh and their moms' names. This will be a very different first day, more like a family reunion than an interview, and even though I love my summertime, I am getting excited for it.

No comments:

Post a Comment