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.