Today the high temperature is predicted to be around 90 degrees, but the dew point has dropped to a more comfortable 62%, "slightly humid" on the scale used by my local news station of choice. Based on the date, and the weather, it is summer. Still. And so I have decided that although I am back to work, back at school as of yesterday preparing for the students' arrival on Thursday, August 27, I will still enjoy summer while it lasts. More importantly, I will make efforts not to let my job wheedle its way into every crevice of my life.
Yesterday I went to the pool for a couple of hours after school and will again today. I read in the late afternoon sun until I got hungry enough to make myself some Caprese salad for dinner. With msnbc in the background I read some more while I sipped some wine. Today I plan on sitting by the pool as well to read some more—my goal being to finish this book by the weekend so that I can attempt another one over the weekend, and get through another one or two by Labor Day.
I do believe it is part of the nature of the beast that is teaching that teachers rarely leave their jobs at work. (And if you do, you feel guilty.) There are papers (and lab reports) to correct, lesson plans that can be revamped, new images that can be downloaded and imported into PowerPoint presentations. But there is also my sanity to maintain, which requires a whole lot of balance for me.
Even when the season changes and I am no longer drawn to the pool like iron filings to a magnet, and instead can’t trade wool crepe fast enough for French terry after school, I will try to maintain balance this year. I will try to write often and read often, and complain less. Yes, there will be nights that I cannot put off lab reports any longer or that I am too tired to do anything but sit with my feet up on the coffee table staring at the TV like post-lobotomy Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I will try.
Because I’m not just a teacher. I’m so much more.