Thing about teachers is, it’s hard to describe being one. I mean, in a vague way I guess people think they understand it — well, you babysit some students who are sort of vaguely jerkish, you write some lesson plans and quizzes, you grade some quizzes, assign some homework, take an hour-and-a-half lunch every day, and then you get three months off during the summer. Oh and THOSE WHO CAN’T DO, TEACH HAW HAW HAW. And that’s true, in the sense that it’s true that bees are face-stinging forces of evil. Sure, they are, but that leaves out the much more important truth that they power the agricultural engines of the entire freaking world.
Teachers are people. Flawed people. People whose work gets the better of them sometimes, just like anybody else, and people who look forward to their well-earned vacations with a gusto that borders on the psychopathic. Seriously — take a walk through any school building in the days leading up to a holiday. See if you can’t smell the desperation coming off them in waves, if you can’t see the frenetic ecstasy rimming their eyes.
But as much as we look forward to our time off, we always screw it up. (Or at least I do.) Here’s how this Thanksgiving went in my life as a teacher:
- Organize a series of quizzes and essays to grade over the break. You have a week off; that’s plenty of time to fit in an hour or so somewhere to do a bit of catch-up work.
- Stuff said papers in your “teacher bag” and carry it home.
- On the short drive home, allow yourself to drift away completely from even the abstract idea that you are a teacher.
- Bag o’ papers goes in the closet. Enjoy a nice adult beverage with dinner because it’s vacation, dammit.
- Spend next few days doing house things and totally not doing teacher things. Bag o’ papers collects lint in the closet.
- Organize for your trip out of town. Do not, even for a second, consider bringing Bag o’ papers with you.
- Turkey and stuffing and travel whirlwind for a few days.
- Arrive home and decompress from seven hours in the car with kids who do not want to be in the car for seven hours. Bag o’ papers is still in the closet, lurking like bad leftover green bean casserole. Nobody is interested in either.
- Plan to hang Christmas decorations. Find that on your earlier trip to Home Depot, you got the wrong size staples for your staple gun. Go to Home Depot again. Get wrong size staples again. Give up and watch college football. (LOL what bag o’ papers?)
- Last day of the break. Plan to hang Christmas decorations. Watch Inside Out with the kids instead. Remember that you’re a teacher and you have to go back to teaching tomorrow. Write a blog post about the things you did instead of grading papers over the break. Think about taking some time to grade papers today (there’s still time) and remember that the Falcons play at 1 PM. That means: morning for decorating, football in the afternoon, and by evening it’s time for the usual Sunday evening routine of dinner, bedtime, and sobbing over the lost weekend while sacrificing a goat in hopes of buying more time before you go back to work.
- Wonder how in the hell nine days passed so fast. Drink wine until you no longer care.
- Monday morning. Retrieve ungraded bag o’ papers from closet. Go to work in a panic. Resume regular teacherly duties.
I’m assuming it’s pretty much the same for all teachers.