Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Too Many Slices! (or, my reflections on a busy summer as it ends)

So today is slice-of-life day, and I've been excited for that for a few days since I love reading other people's slices and getting comments on my own.  However, when today actually got here, I didn't feel like writing at all.  It's not that I don't have anything to write about... in fact, it's the opposite.  There are way too many things happening in my life right now to be able to step back and concentrate on one in a nice writerly way.

School is looming ever closer, like a thundercloud on the horizon just waiting to drop gallons of busy raindrops on my head.  Don't get me wrong; I love school.  I love planning, getting creative, making fun activities, being with kids, watching them learn and interact and grow, sharing my life and my love of learning with them.  But I don't feel ready this summer.  Maybe I worked too hard during summer school this year.  Maybe summer school just went too late into the summer.  Maybe I did too much optional PD.  Maybe I have so many new ideas and too much of this push inside of me (and outside of me, in the form of "accountability" and "merit") to be a better and better and better teacher that I'm stressing myself out.  Anyway, I feel like I don't want school to come just yet.  Will I be excited and ready to go when it does come?  Of course!  I love school and I love teaching and I love working hard on something.  I just know that when school comes, it's here until next summer, and there's no going back.  I will be spending evenings grading and making materials, waking up in the middle of the night with a new lesson idea I just have to write down before I forget, pondering student performance while I'm eating, driving, showering, working out, cooking, hanging out with friends...

The only problem is that I haven't done all the things I wanted to do over the summer, in my "more time"!  I haven't organized the house, haven't cleaned the house, haven't tried lots of new dinner recipes, haven't scrapbooked or done anything else with my pictures, haven't organized my ELL materials, haven't spent lots of time with friends... My husband and I still haven't even seen the new Harry Potter movie!  And we LOVE Harry Potter!  (Although to be fair, that's the fault of bad timing -- it came out right before we left on vacation and then we kind of forgot about it!)  It's hard to feel refreshed and ready to start a new year when there are so many things I haven't done!
Wordle: Mid-August
After looking through my calendar and to-do list, I made a Wordle word cloud to capture how I feel right now. It's not a real cloud, but it does show all the things looming in my mind right now.  I guess this is what mid-August is like: "real" school things (like lessons, materials and my room!) are taking over but I'm also still clinging to all the personal, social, and PD things I feel summer should be about.

Although, now that I think about it... I did accomplish a lot this summer.  Maybe I should focus on what I have done:  I learned about a lot of new tech tools and how I might use them in my teaching, learned a lot about Antarctica with my ELLs and used a class blog for the first time in summer school, starting reading lots of teacher blogs that have already helped me grow tremendously, joined a gym and started exercising regularly with my husband, and started this blog!  I also had a fun and relaxing vacation with my husband!  We played at lots of band events and became co-chairs of the Active Band committee.  I made my first professional presentation, as you know if you read the previous post.  I spent some fun times with my family and friends: the zoo, the fair, the Irish Festival, a Brad Paisley concert, and dinners and lunches out.  Despite all the busy-ness, I even managed a couple of relaxing, stay-in-my-pjs days too!

So I guess it was a good, productive, fun summer -- maybe too much productive and not quite enough fun, but productive is important too!  I think I could be almost ready for school now... it's feeling more like a mysterious new "front" of weather than a thundercloud.  I bet it'll bring some sun and a balmy breeze by the time my alarm goes off on Friday morning for our first teacher workday.  (Ok, maybe not when my alarm goes off, but at least by the time I'm driving to school!)  Until then, I'll be trying to squeeze in some last bits of fun and relaxation. (And just a few of those school things, even though I know they'll be here soon enough anyway!)

P.S. Funny how I wrote a lot for someone who didn't feel like writing!  I guess sometimes we all need to give up those excuses and just write anyway!  After all, I do love to write... just like I do love to teach!


  1. I felt like you do now after a summer of doing a lot of optional PD. You feel completely ready to go while you're in the thick of the pd, but then, when it comes time to go back to school, you feel less than prepared. You will make it. I made lots of lists... maybe you can try doing that.

    Good luck!


  2. I feel exactly as you do. I still have a few weeks left of summer, but I'm anxious about not being ready; I have a long list of things I didn't do. I'm glad you are going to focus on what you DID get done. Sometimes we have to make the lists and then forget about them. Do what comes. I'm hoping I get my slice in today, but I feel relieved that I'm not alone, after having read yours.

  3. I think it's called very mixed feelings! All of us teachers work so hard & love to learn, so when summer comes, we can do the PD & love it, but adding on the job makes everything MORE! And minds race from topic to topic. I hope you have a wonderful school year, & find time for those cloud things!

  4. I like the way you started with the listing of things you didn't get accomplished but then changed tone when you started to think of all you did do. It's been a busy summer for you. Where did it go? You will have a great year, but don't let it consume you. Congratulations on your PD presentation, the first is always the scariest.

  5. I think you really captured that "mid-August" feeling. I have a few weeks left myself before the school-is-almost-here sleepless nights begin. :) Here in Michigan, the kids don't start until after Labor Day.


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