Whew, is it ever a scorcher in Ohio today. I’ve been keeping cool staying in the A/C working on my British literature homework (Beowulf, anyone?) and browsing Facebook. My last foray into Facebook land left me feeling deflated and anxious. I have “liked” several teaching pages over the years and they have taken over my feed lately. Since it is nearing the end of July, most (if not all) are posting about Back-to-School. School supply bargains. Dollar store ideas for the classroom. Flexible seating ideas. Classroom painting, decor, and basic sprucing up. More ways to spend your own money for your classroom. First week of school activities. Big teaching ideas and plans for the upcoming year. So many teachers are simply oozing with their excitement for going back to school.
Not me. I don’t want to go back! And you know something? That’s okay! It doesn’t make me less of a teacher. It doesn’t mean I don’t care for and genuinely love my students. I do. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be the very best teacher I can be. I do. It doesn’t mean I will be less prepared for the start of the year. Trust me, I will be. All it means is that I realize that I have just a few weeks left before I am required to go back to school. I am about halfway through my teaching career. I teach students with special needs. It is exhausting. I need this downtime in order to continue to give my students what they need during the year. I’m refueling.
I also have two incredible kids of my own. Summer is for them. For US. Summer is when we take long walks, spend days at the library, or go visiting every single playground in the area. We have water balloon fights and build forts. We read books and take naps in the middle of the day when it is too hot to be outside. We watch movies and complete 4-H projects. We laze around just chatting with glasses of lemonade. We go to the drive-in every chance we get. Our county fair is next week and we will have a blast. This is my favorite time of the year because of them. I am so very lucky to get to spend these days with a four-year-old who never fails to make me laugh and a ten-year-old who always makes me think a bit deeper. They will never be this age again and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
So to all of you teachers who are feeling guilty for not being ready to embrace the Back-to-School frenzy: IT’S OKAY. Your classroom and students will still be there. Maybe you are enjoying little ones, too. Or maybe you don’t like your current teaching position (or principal or coworker) and dread going back. Or maybe you, too, are still recuperating from the last group of kids who you gave your all to. Your reason doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make you a bad teacher who should find a new career. It just means you are not willing to let the frenzy eek into you…yet. It means you aren’t giving any of your hard-earned time off back to your job – for free.
And to those of you who say you will feel behind if you don’t start now: Does that actually work? From the first day I step back into the school building I feel at least six months behind. Every. Single. Year. Even the years I prepared ALL summer. No more! I am taking back my whole summer and I am not accepting any guilt for not wanting to go back to school. Not any more. I have Back-to-School blues and I refuse to feel guilty about it!
Now I am off to curl up on the couch beside one of my boys to watch Battlebots and listen to him talk endlessly about his plans to build fighting robots when he grows up. We’ll stay up late talking into the night until my eyes start to burn from exhaustion. And when I am awakened tomorrow morning at 7AM by my other little boy and forced to play Legos while feeling groggy, all I will be able to think is how much my life is blessed during the summer.
Enjoy your summer, Teachers. You’ve earned it. 🙂