Tick, tick, tick….


There is nothing quite like the very last day of a long vacation.

There is nothing quite so precious. Nothing quite so quick.  Nothing quite as anxiety provoking as that last long day.

I have been on winter vacation (also known as ‘Christmas break’) for ten full days now.  The first few were filled with wrapping, cooking, celebrating, decorating.  My kids were around, the house was brightly lit and filled with people.  It was way too much fun for me to be thinking about math lessons or the Circulatory System.   I was able to jump into my family holiday with both big feet.

After the main event, though, the week settled into a nice pattern of dog walks, romance novels and sleeping late.  Bagels and coffee at 9.  Dinner with wine at 7.  Ahhhhh.

But all good things must come to an end.

This morning my husband got up and went back to work.  The kids are long since gone back to their real lives.  The dogs and I were left here together for that last L-O-N-G day before going back to work. (Well.  I go back to work. The dogs will remain home in charge of the couch.)

We looked at each other for a bit.  We checked the headlines on several channels.  We decided, unanimously, that we really couldn’t take one more second of Newt or Mitt or that Dobby-Look-Alike Ron Paul.  We had a brief discussion to make a plan for the day, then the dogs decided to take a nap.

I, however, did what any self-respecting teacher would do a mere 24 hours before returning to the classroom.  I grabbed my math book, my laptop, the three novels that the class will start this week, and the “Transport Systems” binder.  I made a pot of coffee and settled in to work.

The funny thing is, even though it probably isn’t a good idea to put all of your work off for the whole week,  this was actually a great way to transition back into the working world.  Even two days ago, my focus was on my family, my home, my own personal and private life. I truly wouldn’t have been able to work on my lesson plans.  And that’s a good thing!  I actually managed to disconnect from all of my work worries and stressors for a full nine days.  I rested!

But by the time I went to bed last night, my brain had shifted forward into the coming week.  I had my usual “teacher dreams”.   You know the ones I mean, where the class is all gathered around, and the teacher (me) realizes that she has no idea of what to say.  I did manage to skip the usual “oh, no I have no clothes on!” dream, but I did have the one where the kids are all milling around and yelling, and I have no voice to get them back under control. And I had the dream where the lights were off and I couldn’t find some of the kids.

So, today I enjoyed my quiet time with music playing and dogs sleeping beside me.  I created a pretty interesting lesson on multiplying decimals, and wrote out 15 chapters worth of comprehension questions about “Journey to Jo’Burg”.   I made up a pre-assessment for the human body study that will start this week.  Then I threw in some laundry, started a pot of soup and swept the floor.  And the entire time, my thoughts were on “my” kids, wondering how their vacations had been, thinking about the best way to ease into the week, remembering little moments that we had shared before the break.

You see, the very best part of having a job that you love is that the last day of every vacation is sort of a good day.  I am feeling a bit anxious today, hearing the relentless “tick, tick, tick” of the last few free hours passing by.  But I am also “anxious” in the good way.  I miss my friends, I miss the laughter and the jokes with the kids. I miss my routine, and the feeling of accomplishment that I truly do feel at the end of every school day.

So, my lunch and breakfast are all made.  My clothes are laid out.  The car is packed with everything that I need to bring to school, and my coffee pot is all set to go.

Bring on the naked teacher dreams. I’m ready to go back to work!

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