As your last student walks away from you on the final day of school to meet his mom in the car rider line or to climb up onto the big yellow bus you probably feel a bit of nostalgia for the time you spent with those sweet students and the great moments of learning during the past 10 months….. But let’s get real, most teachers are so incredibly exhausted and ready for some rest and time for themselves and their own families that their feelings during that final dismissal range from blissful relief to all out cartwheeling joy!
Blessed summer. From the view of the last day of school, summer seems to stretch out in front of us like the wispy horizon looking out across the ocean. There are endless possibilities out there and the end is too foggy to see clearly yet. What a delicious feeling to contemplate the things that might fill this time that is finally all ours. Sleeping late in the morning, naps in the backyard hammock, reading a novel by the pool, precious moments with our own children to read with them, do crafts, and visit museums. Time for those home projects we just didn’t get to. Time to have lunch out with friends like real adults do. Time to watch tv in the evening without a stack of papers on our laps to grade. Honestly, the promise that a summer holds is like a beautiful siren’s song.
Finally the “first day off” comes which teachers have looked forward to for so many long months! Unless you are an educator who lives in an environment much different than mine, your summer reality is much different than your dream though. For starters, it’s very likely that you have a summer job that you have to work. Teachers aren’t “off” in the summer, actually we are unemployed, so unless like me it is more expensive to pay for child care than it is to get a part time job, you might be working during the summer too. Let’s take a look at the reality behind a few more of my summer dreams:
- sleeping late/naps – Kids and/or pets demanding food and attention make this a joke. I can’t even pay them to leave me alone!
- reading by the pool- Again, kids. It goes something like this, “Hey Mom, watch this!” “Mom, tell him to stop ____.” “Mom…….”
- reading, crafts, museums- You might get lucky and get a few good times in here. First you have to survive getting everyone up, fed, and dressed. Then you can expect some fussing, bathroom trips, sunscreen, spills, and at least one bout of tears. But think of the memories you will make!!!
- home projects = Work for free, enough said.
- lunch out with friends- This can be great but getting everyone’s schedule together can be tough.
- watching tv- Good luck, At this point everyone in the house is used to watching what they want all the time while you work.
And don’t forget all the reflection, and planning you will be doing to prepare for the next school year ahead (more work for free).
OK, maybe I made this sound a bit worse than it really is. Summer really is a great time of rejuvenation for teachers. Even with the aggravations, the time pressures of the school year are off and I am allowed to do things on my time and on my COUCH, which counts for a lot in my book!