Dear End of Semester,
This girl is tired! Well, here it is: our glorious weekend. On Friday night, I managed to fall asleep during the five minutes Parker was in the shower (at 7:00 pm!) and then for the majority of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (I have already confessed to a number of people that I am much more fun on Saturday night.) On Fridays, I am crawling home after 70 something teenagers zap my strength for five days straight, angels that they are.
But in all seriousness, a high school teacher loves Christmas just like the rest of us; however, that being said, getting ready for Christmas Break comes with its drawbacks, which is probably why we so desperately need the perk.
Finishing up the semester for an English teacher means grading the last big writing assignments (open letters) my students wrote (which were awesome! I had a 100% turn in rate from one class, which let me tell you, NEVER happens). It means figuring out how to teach a Shakespeare play in a week and a half (you save the hardest material for the end because they’ve had time to hone their skills). It means figuring out how to pretend Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s greatest (not my personal favorite) because either way you have to teach it. It means trying to not be resentful of an education system where a teacher is forced to teach a particular text (and I’m at a good school where I have more freedom than most). It means writing a final exam. It means calling parents of students who are close to not passing. It means staying after school with students on that border, helping them through (even when Mom and Dad are forcing them to be there; P.S. I should add that I am grateful for such moms and dads.) It means planning review games and study methods. It means adding to the custodian’s stockings, baking for the Faculty Christmas Party, and cooking for the English luncheon. It means grading the finals in one day, ironically, a Friday, when as I mentioned above, is the day I have so much energy left to give.
Needless to say, I am very excited for the break. A lot of people give teachers a hard time because we have so many breaks. I must say that I am very grateful for them. I don’t think I could function without them. One appealing aspect of this career are the breathers. But I never knew until I became a teacher how needed they are. Without giving the teachers of the world breaks, the burnout rate would increase exponentially, my sanity would tip to craycray, and I might just fall asleep right in front of my students, while standing. Who knows? It’s possible. So please come Christmas. And with it, please let me carve out time to rest.
This video, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Christmas video, is a great reminder of what really matters. Each night I am trying to find time to enjoy my Christmas tree, slow down, and remember the real reason for the season. I know everyone is busy and it’s not just me. I also know that “busy” should be one of those other four letter words because we all use it too often. I said to a friend this week that we need to slow down and simplify; it’s just so hard to know what to cut and how to prioritize. But I think the majority of people need to do it. It can’t be just me.
I should also add that from the student perspective, the final crunch before the break is a similar experience, at least for my med student. He is powering through 19 lectures of Clinical Medicine, Pharmacology, and Pathology for his exams. How nice of the medical professors to do this for his last Monday before Christmas (I hate their Monday exams). I would say better now than after except that he’ll have more afterwards. I predict he’ll sleep about 4 hours tonight.
We hope the countdown week treats you well! Merry Christmas!
S + P
P.S. This is not a replacement for a Christmas card, though I probably won’t get those out this year either. Sorry.