This is indeed a very strange sensation. For as long as I can remember, this time of year meant “back to school”. I always loved getting a new pair of shoes, or pencil case, or hair cut, whatever else is on the list to get ready for a new year. I’ve gone to school since I was 4! I went through elementary school, secondary school, university, teacher’s college – all of them starting in Septembers. I then went into occasional teaching the year after I graduated. I have upwards of 35 years of back to school training and experience.
For the first time in my life, I’m not really going “back to school.” This is my leave of absence year. (*Now, I will admit, I have one daughter and did take a maternity leave, but believe me, these two circumstances are nowhere near the same!!*) My mind says, shop shop shop. Get those good deals. My vacation self says, don’t worry about it! I mean, I still am doing some shopping for my daughter as she gets more and more excited to go back to school. I still can’t seem to pass up a good deal on supplies, because I have not retired, I will be heading back to the class, so I am just storing some items for next year.
I’m so tempted to update our school social media pages. (I was moderator) I’m still reading updates for school technology ideas. I’m still following my PLN on twitter. Here is the thing – I need this time to be away from school, to work on me, to discover things I’ve been wanting to learn more about. I am learning to separate me the person from me the teacher. BUT, I also realize, I don’t want to fall too far behind current topics, interests, trends in education, because I do have to go back! I’m working on finding a happy medium.
I don’t think I’ll become completely obsolete in one year, but I also don’t want to fall so far behind that getting behind the wheel again becomes a struggle. This year off is the best thing for me and I’ve looked forward to it for about 4 years. I need to let go and be ok with not knowing what’s happening every single second. This is the whole purpose of taking some time away.
One thing that has relieved some stress and tension is that feeling of not being ready. There is usually a sensation for me to get back in the class, get some display boards ready, load up a class list, work on some long-range goals. That nagging feeling of, “What else do I have to do?” is not present. I want to be prepared, but also be ready for the students and their interests. This feels good. But, inevitably, I start thinking, this time next year I hope I don’t freak out! How strange is that? I haven’t even really been out of the class a day yet and I’m thinking about next year! Teachers must have a built-in prep gene.
So while I read articles, congratulate those whose classes are ready, like the posted pictures, I’m relaxing a little bit. My shoulders are are lowering from there tension at the ears location. I’m enjoying more reading for fun, leisure and guilty time wasting. My main concern is if my daughter’s lunch bag fits in her back pack. That’s not a bad place to be.
Good luck to all of you heading back to the class. For the first time in over 35 years, I’m not joining in. I’m looking forward to finding my path and sipping a chai.