As I wrap up my 6th summer since I began teaching, it’s easy for me to identify that I go through the same phases every single year!
Phase 1: The Breakdown
Students are gone, grades are finalized, the classroom is packed, and I am sleeping! Like, A LOT. I’m getting more sleep than my dogs, and all they do is sleep. Sometimes, I’ve even gotten sick on the first day of summer. As if my body knows it doesn’t need to keep up any semblance of productivity and it thinks I deserve to feel a bit of the misery that I’ve put it through this year. The sleep is great, but the lethargy that comes with it isn’t a very fun way to feel on vacation, and every summer I vow to simplify my life so that I don’t go through this extreme week-long “detox” again!
Phase 2: THE GREATEST SUMMER
My fear is that some teachers, unable to shelf the stress of the job, don’t get this, but I sure as heck do! I love to travel, hike, and be outdoors. I’ve been saving all year long for adventure time and in addition to hiking with my dogs, admiring my chickens, and spending time at my family’s lake house in South Carolina, I manage to go on an epic adventure every summer*. Make FUN a priority, and these vibes are going to last even through Phase 3 and 4!
Phase 3: The Stockpile
Phase 3 hits me hard during Phase 2, typically some time in July, though it could happen when I least suspect it’s coming. Basically, I go into Target for some sunscreen and I leave with super cute book bins I found on clearance, stickers, and a new set of InkJoy AND Flair pens. Next thing I know I am on Amazon and Instagram looking at new school supplies like they are the hottest new trend I can’t help myself from wanting to be a part of. I suspect this phase is universal to us teachers, because I see you in those aisles!
Phase 4: The Prep Begins
When you give a mouse a cookie…For us teachers, when we get new school supplies we’re gonna want to use them. This means it’s time to plan and prep for the new school year! You had the spark of an idea of something you wanted to change in your syllabus and it’s 6 hours (or 5 days!) later and you’ve completely revamped your pacing guide for the whole year and have the first day of school planned out by the minute. What you thought was impossible becomes possible and you start to think, hey, maybe I will be ready to get back to school this year.
Phase 5: The Nightmares
I start my first class of the day and realize I’ve forgotten how to speak Spanish. I walk in to 2nd block and I have 50 kids in my room that fits 20. Or I have 0 kids. Or the kids aren’t kids; they’re gigantic chickens!!! (Okay, that one might just be my overactive imagination talking.) I sleep through my alarm. I show up to work with no pants. The list goes on…Sometimes I’m lucky and only get 1 night of Back To School Nightmares, but sometimes these dreams haunt me for 3 or 4 nights in August immediately before I go back!!
Luckily, all I need to do is take a deep breath and remind myself that children are angels on the first day of school. And beyond Day 1, I love my students and I love my job. With that deep breath and mental reminder, it’s time to teach!
*Here is a list of my epic summer adventures. I’d like to do blog posts about at least a couple of them. Let me know in the comments or tweet @MaestraOTM which trips you’re the most curious about!
2014 – California: 2 weeks with my family in San Francisco, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe
2015 – Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Ireland: 3 weeks with my boyfriend (now husband) — an epic adventure and by the end of it I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with this man 🙂
2016 – North Carolina to Maine: 3 week road trip with that same guy and a lot of lobsta
2017 – California: 1 week with my family in Lake Tahoe, followed by a 3-week mother/daughter road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway from Point Arena to San Diego! It also included quick trips out to the desert in Ridgecrest, and Las Vegas.
2018 – Ecuador: 8 days with students on an EF Service Learning Trip, followed by 10 days of spending time with my husband’s family in Quito and The Galapagos!
2019 – Portugal, Spain, Germany, Switzerland: 3 week trip with my dad that included a successful completion of the Camino de Santiago (we walked 130 kilometers from Baiona, Spain to Santiago de Compostela!), plus some special time with my German exchange sister and her family.
Bonus 2019 – Aruba: 1 week off the beaten path on this tiny Caribbean island! (pictured above)