If you want to know how many days left of school there are, the person to ask is not the student, but the teacher. Once spring break is over and there are no three day weekends to look forward to, but just solid weeks of teaching (which goes beyond standing in front of class droning, “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…”), it becomes a mantric countdown. We don’t even say hello to each other anymore, it’s just, “____ days!” Today’s mantra is “22”.
This is the time when, besides planning our final lessons, we are also planning our summer break. All of our summer breaks look different. Some use it to catch up on all of their scrapbooking, cleaning the house that got neglected for the past ten months, or visiting friends that haven’t been seen in just as long. We become anxious to do the other stuff in our lives that we enjoy, or think we enjoyed, because it’s been a really long time since we last enjoyed them. We start imagining a life that does not include the sulking, sullen teenager who tells us that everything is “boring” and how no one, in his entire educational career ever taught him adjectives (even though their purpose is continually reviewed in the study of phrases and clauses). Of course, on the last day of school we will assure that student that, yes, he was indeed our favorite as we wish him a nice
life summer and as we help him with his bag and guide him to the door. We try not to imagine saying goodbye to all of the wonderful students who we watched grow up as they graduate. We know the halls will be emptier, but there’s always a new batch and the sulky, sullen kid will miraculously mature over the summer and greet us with a hug on the first day of the new term (it’s real, it happens, and it’s rather scary at first).
For me, summer looks like morning yoga and walks, long bouts of uninterrupted blissful reading on the couch followed by a nap, or getting on an airplane and getting out of Dodge. My mother-in-law once joked that I have the “get-me-the-hell-out-of-here” syndrome– because if there’s an opportunity to go somewhere, I take it. This summer is shaping up pretty well for travel and uninterrupted reading. Maybe this year, to commemorate our new computer (which makes this blog possible), I will also paint the office and get some decent office furniture that matches. There will be lesson planning, too, but it’s spoils the bucolic image, so I don’t think about that until I have to.
There are those of you, like my husband, who are shaking your heads at us for this time off. My husband mutters, “I get to look forward to working everyday until I’m 82 and then maybe can retire.” If you had two months off, what would you do?