At long last, summer.This past week I wrapped up my school year. Monday morning grades were due, then we had the traditional "teacher check out day" where teachers wander the building handing in materials, satisfying deadlines, and getting signatures from everyone from the librarian to the keeper of the keys. It was a weird day, because there were students in the building...school was cancelled on Friday due to a tropical storm that never really hit us (the weather was worse on Thursday), and so our make-up day was the same day as the teacher check-out day. Only a handful of students showed up, but I had a dedicated student helper who made my last day so much easier! (Thanks, Alexandra!). She boxed up books for me, returned items and ran errands, and generally was truly helpful. Plus, we kept up a steady chatter that was not too distracting but very pleasant. It helped that my husband had come in to school with me on Sunday and done the bulk of the work in packing up my classroom for the summer. I don't know how any teacher would do all this alone.
One of the things I love about teaching is that it is cyclical. I love the fact that I get a do-over every year. Do you ever feel regret/remorse for not doing some part of your work as well as you wished? When you are a teacher, you get a clean slate and a fresh start with every school year. And I love the planning part of teaching; right now my brain is very busy reassessing everything I did this year, reflecting on what I could have done better, and starting to plan for next year. In fact, I find this is the best time to do my planning for the next school year. After Monday, I spent the rest of the week in professional development, working on the curriculum map and assessments for my district.
Now, however, I am more or less free (as long as I don't check my school e-mail!). I can't wait to spend time with my family, take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and read, read, read. I will have time to see to some neglected medical issues, get back to my yoga mat in a serious way, and read to my heart's delight--whatever I like! Later in the summer I will spend six days in an Advanced Writing Project.
My biggest goals for the summer: restore myself mentally and spiritually. Teaching can be demanding and spiritually draining. I plan to write every day, get to yoga class at least once a week, and take care of myself physically. I always seem to make the same mistake: as the school year goes on, I pay less and less attention to my health. Now I have some doctor's appointments, and I hope I can get myself very healthy by the time school starts again in mid-August.
I have a ton of posts and reviews to write (I'm way behind on reviews of the classics I've been reading). My shelves are groaning with wonderful books I'm excited to read. Right now I'm reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird (for the second time) and I'm about to start Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Today I picked up We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver (since I liked Big Brother so much). And I am really excited that David Rhodes has a new novel out. You'd better believe I already have Jewelweed ready to go. Then I'll be continuing my Game of Thrones obsession with A Clash of Kings.
If I get tired of reading I can always go to the beach. After all I do live on an island. Yes, life is good.
What does your summer look like? Do you have your summer books lined up?