Monday, August 08, 2011

The Magic Comes to an End

It turns me upside down
Summer, summer, summer
It's like a merry-go-round.
--The Cars, "Magic"

This is always a bittersweet time of year for me. Tomorrow is the first official day that teachers are to report for duty. Students will not arrive until next Tuesday, and I have actually been doing some form of "work" or another since last Tuesday, but tomorrow it is official.

On one hand, I am, as I am every year, excited to get back to teaching. I am eager to get to know my new classes and eager to meet all the challenges that a school year brings (some more than others, of course). I am also looking forward to some new challenges, as this year marks my first as yearbook adviser and I have been asked to mentor a new teacher. Every school year seems to bring something new: a new standardized test, a new policy, a new appraisal process, a new administrator, a new class to much new.

But, as I look ahead upon the challenges that await, I also look back on the freedom that I will lose, again, for nine months. No more sleeping until seven or eight (or later, if I wanted to). No more travel (not much, anyway). No more choosing to do anything without thinking of the five AM wake up on the other end, or the stack of papers to grade, or the lesson to tweak.

In the long run, that's okay. After all, it is a luxury few people have, an eight week layoff with pay. So, I am sad to see it go, but appreciative that I had it.

I didn't really do much professional work this summer, which is fine by me, but that is a rarity. Almost always, I have a workshop or a class to attend, or I read something directly related to my field (besides journals). This year, I did nothing like that. In some way, as an English teacher, every book I read is some small form of professional development, but my choices this summer were selfish. Nothing I might teach as a whole class novel (but plenty I would recommend as personal reading).

So, this summer, perhaps more than any summer since Monkey and I went to Italy, has been a treasure and a joy. It didn't go exactly as I wanted it. My peppers and tomatoes are still lagging behind; I didn't fish as much as I might have liked; I didn't write enough. However, except for the tomatoes, I can say that about every summer.

I'll miss you, my good friend, Summer. I have enjoyed every sweat bead and sun burn, every glass of iced tea and cold beer, every tomato cheese sandwich. I enjoyed crabbing with my nephews and helping them master the techniques of boogie boarding. I enjoyed getting obliterated by post-storm waves in the cool surf of the Atlantic. I enjoyed hiking the Rockies and going toe-to-toe with belligerent rodents. I enjoyed a few lazy days reading with Monkey. I enjoyed the occasional ice cream cone. I enjoyed sporadically interrupted fireworks and a trip to Fenway Park on the fourth of July. I enjoyed it all.

Until Saturday night, but, Summer, I will forgive you a ferocious thunderstorm that breaks my trees and cuts off my power for twenty four hours every now and again. Especially since I also enjoyed a ferocious looking light show after the storm.

Now, it's time to get serious (but not too serious) and get to work. Bring it!


Monkey @ Life Refocused said...

It all went too fast for me. I want some more days hiking, more days lounging and reading, more cold beers, and at least one swim in the ocean.

The Long Haul Project said...

Sporadically interrupted fireworks... classic! Good luck getting back into the swing of things!