Slice of Life Tuesday: The sound of (summer) silence

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers


Summer has just begun, but I still hear the echoes of my sixth grade classroom: the voices of my students talking, the bang and clatter of their movement, the cacophony that is passing time in our hallways.

Summer has just begun, but I still awake with a start at 5 a.m. and wonder if I had taken care of the this and that which will make the school day ahead move as smoothly as can be hoped for when one teaches eleven and twelve year olds.

Summer has just begun, but…I am still in school mode.

This evening I emptied my trusty L.L.Bean back pack – out came student notes to me, reminders from me to me, a schedule of the last week of school, copies of student work I need to analyze over the summer, books I plan to read, scraps of paper with information I cannot remember enough to decode, and one very squished up clementine.

Tomorrow I will begin to fill it up again: summer work, summer goals, summer dreams.

What do I wish for? Here’s a slice of my summer list:

*Quiet time to sit on my porch, unpack my school year, reflect, and think.

*Quiet time to read uninterrupted, undisturbed by the “do this, do that” of the school year.

*Quiet time to write, to make many journeys of thought about who I am as a teacher, a parent and spouse, a human being.

*Quiet time to drive along long stretches of upstate New York countryside, with cornfields and cows and mountains as far as the eye can see, and just be in the moment: to savor what the soul needs.

Summer quiet is a lovely thing…I am so looking forward to it.




14 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The sound of (summer) silence

  1. Ah, the pictures here have changed to the farm. Immediately I relax. I’m so glad you are finally in your summer and that you have so many quiet plans.

  2. I feel such a sense of peace and happiness from reading your words, Tara. I want all of that for you and more. I once heard an analogy that applies to the teacher’s life: The school year is like vertical living. We get a lot done in a short amount of time. Summer is horizontal living, long and slow. I wish you lots of horizontal days in the months to come. I’m looking forward to following your summer words here.

  3. I love this piece because you capture well that moment of transitioning from school life to summer life. Curious to hear about what is next Tara- as I recall our conversation at NCTE. Your farm looks like a great summer spot.

  4. What a beautiful place to contemplate all that. I am in the same quiet mode. Still waking up at 5, still thinking about things to do. My summer reading list (and book pile) look deep. Here’s to both of us relaxing into it over the next week.

  5. I remember having ideas before I retired about what I would accomplish over the summer. Truth is, I was so spent from a year of teaching English Language Learners that there was not much left of me. Summer was my sloooooow time, when I would allow myself to sleep when I needed to, attend to my family, enjoy the fresh produce of my farm share, and just let myself be me. Sure, that included thoughts about teaching and plans for future teaching, but they would come and go like cumulus clouds drifting over the landscape. I hope you embrace the slow, indulge in books that you enjoy, savor that upstate landscape so rich and abundant in summer, and spend lots of time gazing upon that magnificent farm of yours while day dreaming. Renew, restore, regress. Your students will love you for it in September!

  6. The transition to summer mode takes a shift. Our rhythm changes. Here’s to the cornfields, porch reading, walks with Sophie, and time to breathe it all in.

  7. I would love to be a fly on the wall of your classroom, Tara. I thought about that last week as I drove through Glen Rock. One thing I did each end of June was to get the Edgar award winning books that are announced in the spring and do nothing the first whole week but read. No interruptions from school or work.

    I wish you endless hours to steep and think, dream, and enjoy.

  8. First off, the photos are lovely! They remind me of the mid-Hudson Valley, where my husband and I escape to a few times each year. Second, I’m always horrified at what I find at the bottom of my teacher tote bag at the end of the year. I didn’t have a clementine (phew!), but there was plenty of other junk down there. LOL! Lastly, I spin my wheels the first few days of summer vacation, when I’m home alone, and then I’m able to focus on debriefing and some “reflaction” — reflection and action. Happy summer!

  9. Your summer is just beginning, and mine is half over. We go back five weeks from tomorrow. But in this short time, I am going to “savor what my soul needs.” Beautiful, peaceful words. At All Write, several presenters talked about the need to slow down. Your post is perfect for just that.

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