Friday, September 10, 2010

Into the Fray

It is a shock to the system, this transition from summer vacation to school.  So shocking, in fact, that in the evening of that first, seemingly endless day of school, I couldn't speak.  I was too tired to watch a movie, or read a book, or send an email, or talk.  So I ate half a bagel for dinner, and got in bed at 8:30.

It is no wonder that my students can make it until about 1 pm and then start to fall apart.  If I can barely stay standing or keep my eyes open, what can we expect of 7-year-olds?  All of us are trying to adjust.  Adjusting to going to bed early, to being unable to sleep because we are nervous and excited and our minds can't shut down, and to waking up early.  Adjusting to being alert and focused for hours and hours at a time, after the ease of the summer schedule.  Adjusting to noise, chaos, and 23 bodies in one room in a small space at the same time, after the quiet and space of summer.

Summer vacation is delicious.  Waking up on my own time, after getting enough sleep.  Awakening gradually, so that when I am awake, I am really awake, not drowsy.  Moving slowly, which was the part I most enjoyed this summer, and most miss now.  As I make breakfast in the summer, I can put away dishes from last night, water the plants, putter around.  I can eat unhurriedly, reading the newspaper from front to back.  I can tidy up the apartment, making neat piles instead of the leaning towers that usually prevail.  I can read!  As a rule, I get through more books in two weeks of summer than I do in the whole school year.

I am mostly sad for two reasons: 1) The rushing around.  2) I miss the calm, leisurely time with my partner in crime, when we are both awake and alert and happy instead of worn out and brain-weary.  (With both of us on an academic schedule, the abrupt change last week was even more startling.)

But I am also excited.  School is animating, and the fast pace gives me a rush (until I crash and all systems shut down).  I like to be efficient, get things done, and think hard about what and how to teach.  I like children, and being a teacher.  (At least, I still feel this way after 2 days of school.)  And this year, a new experiment begins, as I teach only half-time, and fill the rest of my days with coaching and leading teachers, and my own projects.  So I can still have some slower days, and get reinvigorated for my days with children.  Cheers!  To a new year.

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