And it’s also summertime!
And my wife and I are teachers, so that means we’re doing nothing at all for the next two months! … Because that’s what people believe about teachers, right?
Actually, I try to live as close to that as possible. You see the arguments break out online (because the internet is made of stupid arguments) between people who think teachers just chill over the summer and teachers who retort that they work just as hard over the summer. You know. Professional development. Curriculum planning. Building and organizing.
Hogwash. Summer is for slacking. I’m not saying those teachers don’t exist, but I did not catch that particular brain parasite that compels them to slave through the summer months in preparation for another long slog through another school year. Summer is the time for doing daddy things, like taking kids to playgrounds, to the pool, to the beach, and … maybe some day there will be time for doing some actual daddy things, too.
Problem is, it’s summer, and regardless of whether we’re working or not, we’re not going to work. Which is great, but it sort of screws with the concept of time. We build our schedule around a few set points: This is Monday, this is the working week, this is Friday, this is the weekend. And the workday is likewise punctuated: Here is when you have to get up, here is when you have to leave the house, here is when you need to gird yourself because that class is coming in with that child in it, here is when you go home, here is when you need to be in bed to do it again tomorrow. The routine is regular, necessary, and natural.
And in the summer it disappears entirely. You wake up everyday (or, more correctly, the kids wake you up) and it’s like, “what are we going to do today?” (The answer, of course, is: “The same thing we do every day. Try to take over the world.”) And you sloth around a little, or maybe you even wake up and exercise, and you rustle up some breakfast, and then what? Naptime is a long way off, and these kids aren’t going to entertain themselves, so you cobble something together — a trip to the playground or the pool or, and let’s not get all high and mighty or anything because we all do it, a movie day at the house. Then they sleep, and while they sleep, you try to restore some semblance of order to the house (because the kids have somehow managed to trash it, even if you went out to do something specifically to keep them from trashing the house). Then they’re up again and you have to figure out the afternoon and then dinner, and then you’ve got an hour or so with the wife before, holy crap, it’s bedtime again, and where did the day go?
I feel like I write this post or something very much like it every year, but that’s only because after six years of teaching and four years of daddying I still don’t have it figured out. Getting Sharknado Done over the summer should be easy. With no J.O.B. taking up eight hours of your day, theoretically there should be more than enough time to do anything that needs doing during the day, and a few things that you didn’t even know needed doing. Yet somehow, it feels harder than ever to find time for things like writing, or exercising, or playing fix-it around the house.
Why is that?
Is it just the kids? They expand and spread out like humanoid black holes and engulf time and space and your entire life over the summer?
Is it the lack of routine? The absence of the workday and the order it imposes on your time?
Is it the relative position of the earth and sun? The longer daylight hours tricking you into thinking there’s plenty of time left when in reality there is no more or less time than ever?
Is it the heat? Maybe it’s the heat.
All I know is, it’s hard to get stuff done over the summer. Maybe doubly so for teachers.
We start off summer like this:
And after a week, and for the rest of the summer, it’s like this: