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:
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.