By my count, I have officially been on holidays for 23 days as of today.
Easy, there. I hasn’t been all beaches, sand and summer beverages!
I love my job. LOVE it! I won’t deny, though, that having the summer ‘off’ is definitely a wonderful perk of having chosen this career. But I think we should clarify what ‘summer off’ means.
Officially, school was done on June 27. From June 28-yesterday, I was aware of what day of the week it was. Today, I found myself asking,
“What day is it today?”
And I knew that I had finally arrived at Summer.
The first week or so of holidays for teachers is definitely a time of decompression. We haven’t started to relax yet. For me, it was still filled with job-related tasks. I sent thank you emails/cards for gifts generously given at the end of the year. I had to shred copies of personal student documents that I had in my possession for the year. I sent emails and texts to parents of some of my students, checking in and seeing how they were doing, after a very emotional last day where they were so sad to leave the school. I have kept in contact with one of my students who is on a trip abroad and has enjoyed emailing with me. And I have answered parent emails that have still trickled in regarding lost items and questions about the fall.
Once those tasks seemed to trickle off I found myself trying to catch up with all the ‘house/home stuff’ that has been largely ignored in the end-of-the-year frenzy that is June. I swear that the laundry has been multiplying and I may or may not have run out and bought new underwear for my family when I was having a bit of trouble keeping up. What? That’s normal, right? That and dealing with the pile of school items that both of my own children brought home and unceremoniously dumped in the front room. I am proud to say that just 23 days later, that has been taken care of. The bar is kind of low here, people.
After those first couple of weeks, I start to feel like socializing again. I’m reading amazing books for fun. My energy is back – I am sleeping well and sleeping in a little bit. I manage to stay in bed until 7:30 instead of the work-day 6:00 wake up. Once again, low bar, apparently.
So, now, I find myself sitting on my deck on a quiet – What day is it? Oh, yeah, SUNDAY. – morning, enjoying a coffee in the sun with my dog sleeping at my feet and the rest of the family still snoozing and I know that I have arrived. I am in summer relaxation mode.
My goal for this summer was to learn how to relax. This sounds stupid, but it’s true. It was made clear to me mid-June, when a colleague of mine brought her class into mine to teach us some of the yoga that they did as a group. It became clear to me that I don’t know how to relax. I don’t know how to do it. I was extremely uncomfortable trying. It was a sobering experience when I realized how high-strung I was and how fast and stressfully I lived my life.
This summer has, so far, been awesome! I am spending time with my family, camping, going on day trips (If you are ever in Moose Jaw check out the Chicago Connection tunnels tour!), bike riding with my kids and learning how to sit quietly and watch TV (Sherlock and Dr Who on Netflix are my faves right now). The conscious decision to relax has been wonderful for me.
Next week my kids will be in camp and my husband will be going to work. My initial thoughts were, “Great! Quiet house! I can get working on school stuff for the fall!” And no doubt, I will do a bit of that. Some Pinteresting. Work on my year plan. Create my online dayplanner. But I will be aware of my need to recharge. Teachers need that. Because as soon as I am allowed to go back in the school, after summer cleaning and maintenance have been done, I will feel that familiar tug to get back to work. And really, I can’t shut down entirely. There’s a whole internet and Twitterverse that I have to learn before I get back!
So to my teacher friends, enjoy your summer. Recharge. I hope you have arrived. It’s a long journey getting here and we deserve every minute. I hear the padding of feet and the slamming of a bathroom door inside the house. My quiet time is over. My family time begins.