Some people think teachers like me shouldn’t complain. They think that summers off mean three months of party time, ninety days of freedom to lie around and do absolutely nothing.
Someone, please show me that teacher.
The teachers I know definitely earn their summer ‘vacation’. If you think about it, most teachers work so much overtime during the school year that it equals the time we have off in the summer. And most of us use our vacation time to catch up on our life to-do list -medical appointments, chores, reading, and mostly for me, being Mom.
Honestly, motherhood never feels like a to-do for me; I’ve always cherished my summer free time with my kids.
In my summer, June finds me coming down off the adrenaline crazed end-of-the-school year, and when August comes around I start having those terrifying teacher dreams where I’m not at all prepared for my classroom of terrifying students :). July is the time when I can try to completely forget about school and remember what makes me me, where I find solace, where I can recharge.
This poem certainly spoke to me this July; I, too, find myself pushing through the list of ‘must-do-before-the-end-of-summer’. I’ve been to the eye doctor and the dentist, I’ve visited my daughter, I’ve weeded and laundered and decluttered and cleaned. Now I find myself much more inclined to sink into that novel that’s been haunting me from my shelf, or to take a long walk with a friend. I’m realizing that July really is the time when I need to remind myself to pencil in pleasure not just in the present, but all through the school year. Thank you, Tony Hoagland, for the gentle reminder that the kingdom still exists.
Down near the bottom of the crossed-out list of things you have to do today,
between “green thread” and “broccoli” you find that you have penciled “sunlight.”
Resting on the page, the word is beautiful.
It touches you as if you had a friend and sunlight were a present
he had sent you from some place distant as this morning—to cheer you up
and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure is a thing
that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember that time and light are kinds
and love is no less practical than a coffee grinder
or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly without a clue
but today you get a telegram,
from the heart in exile proclaiming that the kingdom still exists,
the king and queen alive, still speaking to their children,
— to any one among them
who can find the time to sit out in the sun and listen.
~ Tony Hoagland