Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer Doldrums

We've come to the point in summer vacation where I start itching to get back in the classroom. Now I don't want anyone to mistake this statement as a lack of desire for this lengthy hiatus from working. On the contrary. What I'm going through right now is the dichotomy of emotions I feel every June through August when I praise God for giving me three months of the year where my mind is not constantly on something teaching-related, yet longs for the intellectual stimulation of being in a classroom full of kids.

Working with kids and guiding them on their educational journey is a natural high for me. To watch their physical, emotional, and intellectual growth throughout the course of a school year never ceases to excite and inspire me.

But this ceaseless inspiration comes at a cost. That cost is the vestige of a life. From September through early June, my entire life is held hostage by the rigors of this job that many people rarely understand unless they know someone who teaches. So many people have the misconception that unless you work in the inner-city, teaching is a cake job. 9-5 job. Weekends, holidays, summers off. Must be nice, right?

What is rarely mentioned, however, is the amount of work teachers put into their jobs after the school day ends. Don't tell me I have a cushy job with lots of time off when my evenings are spent grading papers and my weekends planning lessons. I earned these three months off and I'd like for all you judgmental curmudgeons to stop thinking I'm a slacker for sitting around my house reading books and catching up on DVR'd shows. Those two days off that YOU all get during the week, for me have been crammed into three months in a row thank you very much.

Because I earned every minute of these three months due to the amount of work I put into my job during the school year, the thought of letting it fly by kills me. I like to savor every moment out of principle. Yet, as we're beginning to creep into August, all I can think about are the bright, shining eyes of students whose minds I have the ability to impact. They are so full of life and doubt, and come mid-year, develop tons of junior high attitude. Yet in the end, they are the ones who end up affecting me more. It's a job I continue to do purely out of selfishness: it makes me feel like I'm making a difference. There's no greater sense of satisfaction than to walk into that environment everyday, knowing you're impacting the future.

But right now it's still July so I'm just going sit here on this couch with my DVR and remote control and catch up on NCIS.

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