I remember my childhood summers. After what I deemed to be a school year filled with hard work, I thought I deserved my summers, as if they were a God-given right. Never in a million years would I ever take summer school. I loved the feeling of having a day spread before me to fill with whatever I wanted. My parents never really scheduled our days like some of my friends. There were no enrichment lessons, no practices, just my mind to plan out what lay ahead. I remember playing all sorts of imaginary scenarios: grocery store, vet’s office, and restaurant. I remember having the time to watch roly-polys roam around, and butterflies dance. I remember digging for sand crabs, lying on a scratchy beach towel after swimming in the wide, blue ocean, and huddling around a screaming bonfire to cook hot dogs.
Having summers off was and is always a perk of being a teacher. This is no lie. But by no means is it the reason that I became a teacher. Teachers get a bad rap when it comes to summer. I do not get paid in the summer. I carefully (and sometimes not so successfully) put money aside to pay my bills come July and August.
“You must love having all that time off!” they say. I say to this, I need that time off.
The true, hard reality is that being an educator is not getting easier. The pressures are mounting, the budgets are shrinking, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel that I can see.
We have created an atmosphere of adults acting like children on a playground. Bullies, vying for power, control. Actions in the name of altruism, what’s right.
After many years of teaching, this last school year was the worst I can remember, for many different reasons. The mounting pressures from the top, the apathy on the part of many students, and, more than I care to admit, many parents.
But the beauty of my profession is that there is a chance to reevaluate, to self-reflect.
It is summer.
In the summer, time slows down a little. We can take slow breaths, take our pulse, figure out our place in the world and just take notice of everything we have to be grateful for. We can come back to a new school year fresh. This summer I am more grateful than I have ever been. I am going to savor it.