Think back to when you were a kid, and the last day of school rolled around. Â Remember how liberating it felt to leave the classroom on that sunny day in June? Â Remember that feeling of sheer unmitigated euphoria at the thought of a long lazy summer, with no early mornings and no homework?
Multiply that by ten, and that’s exactly how I’m feeling today. Â The last final has been graded, the last grade has been calculated, and this girl is now officially ON VACATION.
Now, granted, summers have a slightly different flavor now that I’m a mom. Â I’m no longer operating on my own schedule and whims. Â But still — it’s hard to beat the unrestrained joy I feel at Â the thought of two months without grading, or without having to rush out the door at dark o’clock in order to get to school on time. Â My life is pretty hectic during the school year, with so many different things to do — teaching, being a mom, writing, being a wife, cooking, gardening, cleaning house (what’s that again?). Â And to have one of the largest pieces taken off of my plate … well, it means that everything else on that plate gets a lot more space. Â And that is a very, very good thing indeed.
Teachers always joke that the two best parts of the job are July and August. Â I won’t go that far — for me, the two best parts of the job are the students and the subject matter. Â But aside from the lovely free time of summer vacation, I do think there is something extremely fulfilling about having a job that does not stretch on and on in a continuous line, with each day much like the other. Â I love the fact that each school year has a definite start and a definite end. Â I love the anticipation you get in August/September, and the slow peak towards June, and the feeling of accomplishment that you have when you turn the key in the classroom door and leave for a while. Â And I love the summer, when your teaching brain is fallow and things are germinating there, deep down in your subconscious, little ideas that you’ll start paying serious attention to when August rolls around again. Â To everything, there is a season, right?
As I write this, I’m realizing Â that the teaching year is a lot like the liturgical year: there is a start, and an ending. Â There are stretches of waiting and periods of sacrifice and moments of drama and Â times of great fulfillment. Â And there is, of course, that beautiful, blessed ordinary time.
It’s here again, and this teacher couldn’t be happier.