The last day. Typically, teachers will breathe a sigh of relief, and sprint to their cars when they get the "OK" to go home for the summer. Teaching is a really special job, and it is definitely a perk to have the summers off. Don't let the giant smiles on your teacher friend's faces fool you on the last day though, we all love our jobs, and we all miss it when we're not here. That's right. I'm calling all my teacher friends out. You know when you're on summer break, you're low-key eyeing things in the store that would make for great motivational tools for your lessons, or thinking about what you might rearrange in the room when you get back, or you're taking the PD classes you really want to take since you've got the time. Or maybe that doesn't apply to you at all and I could be wrong. Maybe that's just something I do, because I usually experience the "summer blues" and get anxiety when I'm not in teaching mode anymore. More about that later.
Prepping for September already?
For me, the last few days of work are really important. I have to clear out the art room, re-organize the disaster that is the supply closet, order new supplies, and I (gasp!) prep for next year. Once we get our courses for next year, I hit the ground running. Next year I'll be teaching Studio Art, Drawing and Painting and AP Drawing. It's my favorite set of courses, and after a full year off from teaching an AP level course, I am refreshed and ready to get back into it! So how do I prep for next year? I put together my grade expectation sheets, and make copies of everything. I've learned to not trust the copy machines the first week back to work (they're still on summer vacay like most of us). I also get my AP students plastic folders for all of their first day course handouts (yep, purchased out of my own money, as so many teachers will do, but I think it's a nice touch for this special group). I also prep 5 days worth of sub plans for those emergency sick days you don't see coming.
Cue Lana Del Rey, I have that Summertime Sadness
Once all of my first week prep is complete, and I am left with nothing to do, I already start thinking of what else there could be. This teacher brain is really hard to turn off. It's part of the reason I decided to sit down and re-vamp this website and start a blog. And then, after an awesome breakfast with my colleagues, and I get home from the last day, this weird summer malaise sets in. I decided I wanted to talk about it here, because I'm not sure if any other teachers experience this.
I get depressed when I'm on summer break. It's a weird thing. I'm supposed to be excited, planning epic vacations, and relaxing for once. I work really hard all year, and I'm in constant "go" mode, and then this abrupt switch to nothing happens and bam, I feel sort of sad. It doesn't stick around all the time, but the first few weeks transitioning into summer mode isn't always easy for me. People ask me, "Why don't you just get a summer job then, if you're such a workaholic?", My answer to that is, I don't actually want to work in the summer, because I am actually quite exhausted from working. I just want to find meaningful activities to do that keep my soul and mind nourished and fulfilled.
I've learned to combat the summer blues; every year it gets a little better. I plan to see my friends and their amazing kiddos. I take advantage of getting to my Crossfit gym once a day instead of once a week. I make sure I get to the beach and I bring stuff to draw and read with me. I pop into the city to get to museums I haven't been to all year. I bring my dog, Lily Rose, with me wherever possible.
This year I'm looking forward to having my second bedroom as my art studio (finally!) so I'll be hopefully spending time in there creating new stuff! I also try to take on some commissioned artwork (so if any of ya'll want some art...hit me up!). And who knows, maybe a last minute epic adventure or trip will fall into place. I'm learning to just go with the flow and embrace the wonder that is summer. It really is a pretty cool feeling. That feeling of walking out the doors on your last day of school when you were a kid, and knowing that you had the summer ahead of you, I get to experience that every year for the next 20 something years. Sorry non-teacher friends. I don't mean to brag.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading! I'll be updating throughout the summer so keep checking back. Let's see how this blog thing goes.
Enjoy your summer!