Goodbye summer

I find that folks have little patience (and lots of eye rolls) for teachers who grumble about the end of summer vacation.

I understand how it might feel annoying to hear a teacher sigh about heading back to school after such a long break. If you work a typical job, perhaps you enjoy a week or two of PTO every year, let alone two months of glorious freedom.

Why can't we just appreciate our perks and quit whining? 

The truth is that starting the school year is sort of a shock to the system. 

Of course there is excitement about buying school supplies (anyone else feel giddy when stores roll out the new folders, pens, and notebooks?). And there is the adrenaline rush when your classroom is finally sparkling and you can envision it housing a new group of students.

While there is enthusiasm for a fresh start, there is also anticipation of the insanity that is to come.

A Day in the Life of a Middle School Teacher

Employees in corporate America are familiar with "team meetings." Whether you host or attend them, I imagine very few of you would describe them as popular.

Well, imagine YOU are solely responsible for leading SIX consecutive "team meetings" every day, each attended by 30+ employees.

Potential obstacles include employees who: aren't prepared, stayed up too late, overslept, didn't eat breakfast, arrived late, have limited attention spans, are picking their nose, get out of their seat repeatedly, have raging hormones, or socialize incessantly, to name a few. I realize that many of these obstacles exist in corporate America, too. ;-)

Your meetings can't run long or be dismissed early, and there will certainly be no restroom or coffee breaks for you. The meeting will conclude after 44 minutes whether or not your employees were productive or retained anything of value. Because the bell rings with no regard for the status of your meeting agenda!

And tomorrow morning, you'll show up early and do it all again. For approximately 180 days. Until next summer break.

Would you like to fill out an application for this position? Now hiring in a school district near you!

Earlier this week, a friend of mine posted her thoughts on welcoming a new batch of 8th graders:

"The first day of school my classes lack the silliness, the inside jokes, the comfort, the bond. But they are also so full of possibility and it's exciting to know we will build all those things together as the months pass."

What my analogy fails to illustrate is the magic of sharing a classroom with young people. The personalities, the insights, the authentic relationships that grow through quality time spent together. 

A teacher's work is tireless and humbling and rewarding and important. I am convinced that it has been the right work for me, even though I'm on the sidelines this fall.

I'd like to offer a big CHEERS to all my peeps who went back to work this week. Friday is here!

Before you head off into the weekend, I ask you to think about how you'll take care of yourself this year. How about stop working through lunch and eat in the teachers' lounge. Quit checking your school email at 7pm, it can wait until tomorrow. After work, go for a walk, have a coffee date, get a massage, play golf, practice yoga, read a book (your teacher edition textbook doesn't count).

What I'm saying is take time for yourself this year. You deserve it.

Now go put your feet up and enjoy your weekend!