July 18, 2008

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No, It's "Teacher on Summer Vacation!"

"So, How are you enjoying your summer?". As a teacher, we hear this question all of the time. This question usually follows with the inevitable, "You are so lucky to have off". "Yes", I think to myself. It is one of the reasons that I became a teacher. In the summer, I am, "Teacher On Summer Vacation" or "T.O.S.V."... (Not "Rubber Room Inmate Enjoying Time-Off") -what an empowering feeling. For most teachers, this means a relief from writing lesson plans, grading tests, freedom from the harassment of inexperienced administration, rotten kids(not all) and their rotten parents who are in extreme denial. For an inmate like me, summer is a time when I get to be a 'real' teacher- doing what 'real' teachers do.

Teachers need summer like fish need water. The summer recharges and breathes new life to the impoverished spirit of a 'June' teacher. In the past, I have enjoyed many free and liberating months while others continue to trudge miserably to and from their more prestigious, higher paying jobs.

This summer, however, has brought new meaning to 'free time and liberation'. For me, it means, not having to report to the Rubber Room until 'school' as most of us know it, resumes at the end of August. I am "T.O.S.V!". I have to keep reminding myself of this. When you have been confined to sitting still all day in a crowded room with the daily task of doing nothing particular except punching the clock on time, the arrival of summer is *(^_^)* freeing beyond comprehension. For two whole months I get to experience what it feels to be ungoverned. I get to do what real teachers do. I get to sleep late, go to the beach, soak up the sun, drink iced coffee, tend to my garden, shop in empty stores, speak loudly on my cell phone and drive on traffic-free roads. I can loiter as long as I want in a restaurant, in a bathroom(not that I want to)or anywhere that I choose to be, undocumented and untimed.

As I reap the benefits of summer, I can almost pretend that everything else in my life is "status quo". I can freely mingle and interact with children in my neighborhood. I can go to a playground and observe the untainted innocence of children at play. I can enjoy the beauty of the day as god designed it. Afterall, I am, "Teacher On Summer Vacation." That's all I really need to be right now.

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