August is a strange month. Many who aren’t educators see August as a whole month of summer to kick back and enjoy. To me, August is the “Sunday” of the year. What I mean by that is that, as soon as August 1st appears on my calendar, it constantly feels as though I am waiting for it to end, waiting for that “Monday” – ie. First Day of School – to begin. I can’t seem to relax. I can’t seem to shake the First Day of School nightmares away. I can’t seem to really enjoy the month with such a carefree attitude as I did July.
But what I’m anxious about is not that First Day of School, per say. I know that will end quicker than it began, and I know things are bound to get messy. And I know that I’ll miss a few things I had planned, and that’s okay. And I know the kids are so excited to be back with their friends that they won’t remember if I pronounce a name wrong, and won’t worry if the schedule is a bit out of wack for the day. My worries are not about that first day of school (I still don’t have a class list or a schedule, and I’m still surviving, here… “Whatever, it will work out,” is my motto).
My anxiety comes from what I will have to let go when I get back into that work groove again. There are a few key elements that stand out in my mind:
- I love being able to wake up slowly, rising as the sun’s rays increase in strength through my bedroom blinds, casually making my way down the stairs, taking time with my coffee, and being able to sit with that coffee and a good book, or catching up on social media, without rushing to wash and ready myself.
- That brings me to ‘good books’ … I have so much time to read in the summer. I fly through books, much like when I have winter or spring holidays, as well. There is nothing I love more than time to read. This is the greatest thing that gives me anxiety; not having enough time to really read and enjoy a book because I’m too busy with work. Letting go of my books makes my skin itch.
- I love having “me time”. I feel as though spiritually and emotionally, I’m in a far better state when I’m able to dedicate time to myself, whether it’s taking a few extra minutes to shower, or whether it’s going to the market to just walk around and take in the sights and smells, or whether it’s sitting down with a magazine and indulging in the mundane…
- I also love that I was able to spend so much time with Mr. J … J works from home, so my being home meant that we rose around the same time, made food together, and encouraged each other to be productive with our days, often deciding to take a trip somewhere in the afternoon after he finished his work, and spending the evening out with one another. Nothing is more wonderful!
- I’m afraid to let go of Paris for another year. Reality of my life here is setting in, which means making Paris my reality won’t happen for a long while. I guess that’s why I have this blog, but I’m also worried about how often I will take the time to write in it, when I’m swamped with everything else.
People don’t realize that a teacher’s work never stops. Most people work all day and then leave their work AT WORK. Teachers bring it home with them. Whether it’s actual, physical prep work for the following day or the following week, or catching up on e-mails for a variety of trips planned for the students, or whether it’s emotional baggage carried over from a stressful day, with, perhaps, an upset student, or a parent who decided you would be their target, today. We. Don’t. Stop. And that’s what is most exhausting about this career choice, and that is why I get August Anxieties about the realities of letting go all that I loved about summer.
And that is, really, why teachers have the summers off in the first place. I can’t stress enough how much it is needed, because what are weekends when your work never really stops?
Oh, God, here I go scratching myself again… just thinking about the stress is making the anxiety rise.