“Eight twenty” is the beginning of the end… the end of summer, that is. I retired after thirty-five years in the classroom. Add nearly twenty years for my own education. That is a lot of back to school preparations. Since I married a teacher, even when I was at home as a full-time mom, there was still a countdown for back to school.
When I was still teaching, the end of August was time to really appreciate the summer weather and the remaining hours of leisure. Because come Labor Day, I was back on the treadmill, and you couldn’t get off until Canada Day the following June. Schedules, calendars, meetings. The need for time-management skills, for energy and patience, for commitment… no excuses, no procrastination.
This is not a complaint. I loved teaching and still miss it dearly. I loved the challenge and excitement, the energizing effect of being part of a vibrant school community. I was often tired, but never, ever, bored. I will choose fatigue over boredom every time!
During these late summer days, beginning with”eight twenty”, it was always a flurry of activity to get bedtimes and alarm times and meal times in transition back to a rigorous routine, to finish household chores like deep cleaning and organizing work spaces, and to get myself, my two sons, and my husband outfitted for the coming season.
The men in my family HATE shopping! But jeans that fit the boys in May became “flood pants” over the summer, and my husband always needed new trousers and a blazer or sports jacket. Socks. Underwear. This was my annual opportunity to drag them to the mall, among the throngs of other reluctantly protesting procrastinators. Why was this MY responsibility? It wasn’t! But just ask any Mom and Wife about the consequences of NOT doing it.
The following week I devoted to school… opening the classroom, doing inventory, checking timetables and class lists, informal meetings, preparing my day book and lessons for the first week, catching up on summer news with my colleagues.
Labor Day is really the first day in the new year. It annoys me that manufacturers of pocket agendas don’t recognize that fact. EVERYTHING starts again… and I need a calendar that reflects that. Maybe it’s time to move into the modern era and get something more high-tech!
So, all the best to the teachers out there, and to families with school age children!
I will be thinking of you… with more than a little bit of envy and nostalgia, while I take my second cup of coffee out to the garden and read another hundred pages of my novel. I do not intend to sew on buttons, hem pants, wash and iron, or shop at any time this week. But if I happen to see them in the drug store, I may buy a new box of Crayola crayons… some traditions are too satisfying to ignore.
I earned this leisure and I intend to enjoy it!
What are your memories of the end of summer? Bringing in a harvest? Closing the cottage? Heading home from camp? Working frantically to finish summer projects? Packing to go back to college? Squeezing in a week of fun after stopping your summer job? Transition time… or more of the same?