Monday, July 27, 2009

The End Except For The Part Where It Isn't

I awoke this morning feeling a bit sad. It is, after all, the last week of summer vacation. One can't help but feel rather melancholy at a time like this.

I hear you. You're saying, "Um...Sheepie? It's July. It is not the last week of summer vacation. It is the last week of July. I think you need to consult your calendar before you start packing lunches and writing up lesson plans."

You are correct in your thinking, for the most part. It is not really the last week of vacation. But there are levels in every school break and the summer one is no exception. Each level has a feeling. June feels light and breezy. Once those school doors close behind me, I'm free. I could probably float right off the ground if I tried.

July feels kind of earthy and solid. I've managed to get into the groove of not working and I almost don't remember what children sound or smell like. I don't get all silly in the morning when I realize I do not have to go to work. I have managed to establish a solid routine and, while it isn't anything all that exciting, it feels nice. I tend to do a lot of housecleaning, cooking and meeting of knitting goals during the month of July. I'm a regular Earth Mother.

Then August hits. August feels heavy. It weighs down on me. The time has come to accept that all things are fleeting and that summer doesn't last forever. I become obsessed with all the things I didn't do during that ridiculous Earth Mother phase and could just kick myself for not doing more instead of being satisfied with merely following the routine. The fact that my time is really no longer my own becomes more apparent as the month wears on because I will soon have to go into the school to see what havoc has been wrought in my classroom over the summer months. There is usually a great deal of maintenance going on during that time and you can bet that nothing will be as I left it. And it's not like I did such a great job packing up anyway what with feeling so light and whatnot.

To make matters worse, it is a certainty that I will run into at least two colleagues who have been there for weeks getting everything set up and who want to talk with me about plans for the upcoming school year. They do not quite buy into my Take Two Or Three Mornings To Toss Things Together And Then Go Enjoy What's Left Of Summer philosophy. They have been using a level and straight edge to make sure that they get the posters up evenly. They have been reviewing the staff handbook from last year in order that they might ready to answer any questions that might come up should there be an unexpected pop quiz. These people are generally not all that impressed by my ability to set up a classroom in mere hours. Or that I've figured out how to roll with the punches on the first few days because detailed, well written lesson plans never seem to go the way you want at that point in the school year. It's a learning curve and your time would be better spent taking vitamins or resting up for the curve-climbing.

That is August. And it is close enough to touch right now. But it's not here yet so I'm going to enjoy this last week of July and wring every last drop of Earth Mother Goodness out of it that I can. We are starting back to school earlier this year so August is going to be a short month, in vacation terms. I'm going to live July to the fullest.

Of course today was so humid and sticky that I had to psych myself up to pick up heel stitches on a sock and spent more time sitting in front of a fan thinking about ice cream than I did actually living to the fullest. But I like to believe that I got all that out of my system and that tomorrow is going to be the best day ever for July Joy.

Or I'll take a nap. Napping is a good way to honor the lazy, hazy days of summer, right?

SA

8 comments:

trek said...

I could be very upset with you right now, reminding me that I really need to read those textbooks I picked up last week...

sophanne said...

Annie- I couldn't have said it better myself

Cursing Mama said...

how is thinking about ice cream not living life to its fullest? I suppose you could've added some panda cam - but really that may have interfered with the thoughts of toppings....

kmkat said...

Your summary of how June, July, and August feel translates perfectly to how a weekend feels. Friday night /June = light and floaty, full of endless possibility; Saturday/July = solid, grounded. Sunday/August = heavy and full of regret for moments of Saturday/July that were not used to the fullest.

Kath said...

I'm guessing those colleagues of yours using the levels and straight edges probably have level, straight-edged students. But from what you've said, it appears that the kids in your classes require a teacher who excels in doing things quickly and rolling with the punches!

Anonymous said...

Oh Sheepie.. whatever would you do if you were one of us "non-educators" who don't get the summer breaks at all?

You have PLENTY of good vacation times left.. enjoy it all :)

mia

Donna Lee said...

I think naps are a perfectly acceptable (and even desirable) way to spend some quality Earth Mother Time. After all, Earth Mothers need their rest what with keeping up all this busy summer stuff.

Georgi said...

Since I am jealous that you have the entire summer off (or most of it) I translated you summer to my weekends and that describes it perfectly.