#celebratelu: Time off

Celebrate with Ruth Ayres Writes …. because we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get.


By the end of every school year, teacher nerd though I am, I find that I need to disconnect from the world of school completely.  The last weeks of school, with their mountains of grading and paperwork for the new school year to complete, leave me with a “system overload” feeling: I don’t care to have another teacher thought for a bit, if I can help it.

For the past week, I have wandered through New York City meeting friends and my children, I have read Eula Biss’ magnificent collection of essays (thank’s to Ruth’s recommendation) and dipped into favorite volumes of poetry, I spent a whole day listening to the New Yorker’s fiction podcast while I put my house back in order, and I cleaned out my many workbags while taking care to toss away my lesson plan book, as I do at the end of every year.

And, over the past week, I emptied my mind of the nagging worries, regrets, and aggravations that tend to plague me as the school year ends.  This is the phase of could-have-should-have that tends to occupy my brain as I assemble portfolios and clean out the classroom.  For some reason, as I get ready to let my sixth graders go, I dwell on all I felt we didn’t do, or couldn’t do.  I notice that H. still fails to punctuate dialogue with consistent care, or that O. continues to turn his work in at the very last possible moment. These noticings make me want to bang my head against the wall, they make me lose sight of that proverbial forest…all I can see are the saplings that still need a lot more help if they are ever going to properly grow.  Arghh!

But, by giving myself the gift of some time and distance from all things school, I feel I can now turn back to summer work refreshed and ready.  I have made space in my head to read books about teaching, to read stories and poems through which to teach, and to begin to give shape to another year of sixth grade learning.

I feel ready for Twitter chats, journaling my ideas for new learning adventures, and immersing myself in the gifts of these books:


Today, this first July day, I celebrate the return to thinking about (and taking joy in) my teaching life.


9 thoughts on “#celebratelu: Time off

  1. Oh, the woes of being a reflective teacher. I so want the do-overs of the year; to go back and fix what I left unfixed. I am so thankful for the chance to come back each year and do just a little bit better than the year before. Enjoy your summer, and thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Oh, your stack of reading makes me feel just a tiny bit jealous. But I do have other concerns these days – grandsons that fill my time and still plenty of time for reading middle grade fiction. Enjoy the dive into new learning. I’ll be watching for your posts.

  3. Time and distance is necessary to nurture our souls. I’m glad you took the time and can refresh yourself with great reading titles.

  4. I’m happy for you that you are now ready to say goodbye, and hello to new things-books, the farm, friends to meet, family to savor. Happy Summer, Tara! (I’ve ordered the Eula Biss for the beach, thanks to you & Ruth.)

  5. I can imagine you cleaning and organizing as you listen to podcasts. Summer is a delicious time to dream and refill your soul with family, friends, and books (and lucky you) at your beautiful farm. Picturing you there makes my heart glad.

  6. I may have written this in my last comment, but you are starting your summer and I have four weeks left of mine! Instead of “emptying my mind” I am starting to fill mine up again! But we all need that time off – enjoy!

  7. This is so true… I need the first bit of time to chill and get some distance… and come July, I am ready to dig back in! Great books pictured… I need to add some to my reading list!

  8. Like Leigh Anne, I only have 4 weeks of my summer left. The empty mind is filling back up. But it was so nice while it lasted. For our trip to Santa Fe, I only took an adult book (Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout) and focused on relaxing and enjoying the time. The farm is a perfect place to unwind. Enjoy!

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