I've got the "school is about to start again blahs"
This is one of the longer breaks I've taken between posts this summer. The other breaks I've taken have happened when I've gone of vacation or been involved in something where I just couldn't get to a computer for awhile. But that's hasn't been the case this time. I've been reading some other blogs, and I've been checking out my newsreader, but I couldn't get fired up about anything. Finally, last night, I checked out Anonymous Teacher's blog, and she has inspired another post. In the process, she also helped me understand why it took me so long: I've got the "school is about to start again blahs."
Anonymous Teacher inspired this post by by unintentionally appealing to my very strong Catholic sense of guilt. In her post, she talks about how excited she is about the start of the new school year. I have frequently heard young teachers express the same kind of enthusiasm, and since I began reading teachers' blogs last year, I seen the same sentiment expressed over and over again. I wish I felt like that, but I don't. I dread the start of a new school year. Whenever I listen to teachers like Anonymous Teacher sounding so excited, it makes me feel like an old man who is stooped over on his cain mumbling, "Bah humbug!"
Let me make it clear that I love my teaching job. I really do! And for the first several years of my teaching career, I looked forward to the start of the year, too. I don't know how many years it took, but eventually I realized that hated it. Once we get a few weeks into the year, I'm fine, and by the end of the year, I'm usually thoroughly enjoying most of my classes. But the start? Yuk!
First of all, I've got to admit that my life in the summer is pretty good. I have time for that second cup of coffee before I take off for my morning workout every day. I only work 22 hours per week, so I've got my afternoons off, and the weather has been beautiful here in Warroad for the last month. I can kick back on the deck, read a good book, or head for my office in the basement and write a post for my blog. If the Little Lady comes up with a honey-do project for me, I know I can get it done without getting all stressed out about it. By the time this summer is over, I'll have been to Cancun, Oregon, the Quad Cities, the American Idol concert in the Twin Cities, as well as spending a great weekend with our kids up here in Warroad. Life has been good! Why in the world would I look forward to all that coming to a screeching halt?
In three weeks, the kids will come to school, and I know I'll be overwhelmed. For some reason, it always seems like there's so much more work at the start of the school year than at the end. Part of the reason is that I'm slower at everything--getting materials ready, correcting papers, you name it. When I get home every night in September, and collapse into a chair, I know that I'll feel like the poster boy for teacher burnout.
At the beginning of the year there are all always some things that have to be done, but just aren't very exciting--getting all the names of the kids in my gradebook, setting up my computerized gradebook, going over school policies and classroom policies (that's always a thrill for the kids!), and just trying to get kids to understand how they need to do things in my classes. Blah!
Another thing that depresses me about the beginning of the year is that there is almost no chemistry in my classes, yet. The aspect that I probably enjoy most about teaching is the relationship that develops between the students and me and the students with each other as the year goes on. That's fun! But it's not there at the start of the year. To top that off, I don't know the kids names, yet. I hate that! Every time somebody wants to answer a question, I've got to go running to find the seating chart so I can figure out who the heck it is that I'm calling on. It's either that or asking, "Who are you anyway?" It's always great when you've got to tell some kid back in the corner not to do something by yelling, "Hey, you! Back there! No, not you, him!" When I give kids time to read or take a quiz, they probably wonder what kind of weirdo I am when they look up and see me staring at them and whispering to myself as I try to memorize their names.
Now that I've written this I feel much better. As I read over this, not liking the start of the year makes a lot of sense to me. Rather than looking at myself as an educational Scrooge, I'm wondering how anyone can look forward to this part of the year. What the heck is wrong with you people?!?!