Wednesday, June 15, 2011

End of the year and thoughts on summer

Before I begin to ramble on - Gus is home and seems to be MUCH better! Poor guy. We are so happy that he is back with us and that he is clearly better than he was over the weekend.
Now, back to the 'real' post...
There is that ubiquitous quote "A picture is worth a thousand words" which at times is true and other times is just a cliché. However, I might agree with that saying when I consider the following photo:

Don't I look so academic? Graduation is now over a full week in the past, but only just now do I feel ready to embrace summer and the opportunities that it offers. Before I move to that topic, I will briefly sum up the school year as one of the best I've had in terms of teaching and administrating (what an awful verb, by the way.... "to administrate". I suppose that "to administer" sounds slightly less managerial and uptight and opens up to a wider variety of meanings, but I really do mean "to administrate"). Leaving the administrating thing aside, I had a GREAT time in the classroom with my students this year. They were funny and sharp, and I felt quite lucky to walk into the different classrooms every day.
The end of the year has sort of rolled to a sputtering stop with all of the meetings that we had last week (and a few that continue to this week). Also, I find my thoughts already wandering to next year. It will be a year of changes and transitions. Different classes to teach (although many of the same students from this year), a new administrative position and a change in office. I have spent a few hours this week packing up my current office, a process that I've made easier by trying to toss out as much junk as possible. I also agreed to help with a "College-essay-writing workshop", a commitment that I almost regret now. It is a short workshop, just two days, fortunately because I have a group that is reluctant to talk and/or reflect.
In other ways, however, I definitely feel summer's pull: Michael and I spend our evenings watching movies until the late hour of 10 pm, we went to an 8:30 am spinning class today, and I am about to sink my teeth into a PD James mystery that I expect to finish by tomorrow. At the very latest. Life is not bad!
There is, however, a brief moment of panic that sets in when I consider the days that stretch out before me. On the one hand, I wonder how to fill my time in a meaningful manner. Usually, I try to schedule summer school, professional development and plenty of other 'growth' activities that will make me feel like a productive member of society. Last year, for example, the day after our last meetings, I left for a conference, and then when I returned from that, I started teaching summer school immediately, and then Michael and I had a rather epic trip. This summer, while I do have one workshop scheduled, it doesn't seem overly intense, and the same can be said for our travel schedule. I believe that the free time that looms ahead scares me just a bit. Again, the thought "How to fill this time meaningfully" jangles around in my head.
And maybe that is the point? It will be an interesting experiment to see how happy, relaxed, or uncomfortable I feel with so much free time and a more open summer schedule.

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