As I’ve alluded to in prior posts, this academic year has been a difficult one for many different reasons. So as this academic year draws to a close, and I enter final grades and tie up loose ends, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief from the bottom of my gut that I am entering a season of lower intensity. Summer: a significant season in the cyclical patterns of a teacher’s life. A much needed seasonal rest.
Among the many things I love about my job, one of the things I value most is the seasonal “reset” button that summer vacation offers. I’ve written before about some of the difficulties inherent in a career marked by cyclical, seasonal resets, adjustments, and changes, but, after sleeping in until 9am this morning, I am choosing to savor some of the huge benefits of the seasonal nature of this career path.
I am a creature of habit. As much as the idea of being someone who likes change appeals to me, I, like most of us I suspect, enjoy familiarity and pattern. Without prompting, I tend to repeat my tried and true routes, particularly when they’ve served me well in the past. Mercifully, teaching does not tolerate this habit or tendency. Every few months, the teacher’s cyclical calendar requires some shift of me; sometimes it is a shift in work ethic, attitude, activity pattern, or area of research, but there is no room for redundancy or stagnancy in education, and the academic seasons support and prompt necessary evolutions of self and curriculum.
Fortunately for my own mental health at the moment, I am entering the season of teacher’s rest. While my summer is preemptively packed with classes, reading lists, curriculum design work, recommendation writing, and inevitable work emails, my life will still proceed at a slightly slower pace for a few months. My days will be warmer, greener, and quieter for a season. It is this quiet space that allows me to reset and recharge, preparing to enter a new academic year with a clean slate and an open mind.
I am grateful for the gentle prompting to engage new ideas, pastimes, and people at regular intervals. I love the changing seasons of my career, and I plan to do my best to be entirely present in each new season, experiencing the struggles and joys of each fully and wholeheartedly. Blessedly, for now, that means time to sleep, read, run, think, and be with family. For now.