the ferrous wheel

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 27 2009

It’s summertime…

Brings to mind the Flaming Lips song:

It’s summertime

And I can understand if you still feel sad

It’s summertime

Though it’s hard to see true possibilities

When you look inside, all you’ll see

Is self-reflected inner sadness

Look outside

I know that you’ll recognize it’s summertime

Except not that melancholy! I’ve been spending a lot of time indoors, working on a combination of grad school homework, TFA tools, and medical school applications.  This work is eating up all of my time!  But I also really enjoy sitting around the house with no particular agenda, nothing to wake up early for, nowhere to go at no certain time. I’ve been churning out a great deal of work, too – I’ve fully planned out my year-long curriculum for all three subjects I’m teaching (yes, three…I’m trying not to think about what it will be like because I’m afraid for my mental well being), and I’ve finished three med school applications completely. Whew.

The only problem is that I’m teaching summer school all this week. It’s ruining my peaceful state of mind: the school dreams come back, the anxiety of biking to that building in the morning hits me again. It’s not like I have real responsibility during summer school – I don’t have to teach, I just have to supervise kids doing independent work – but something about having to wake up early, walk into those doors, and feel my classroom keys hanging around my neck triggers an autonomous reaction in my brain.

So, to those of you who are first-years, some words of advice: don’t sign up for summer school, no matter how easy it sounds to work for “just one week in two months of vacation,” no matter what kind of stipend they give you (I know, my bank account hurts, too), no matter how dedicated you feel to helping the lazy and truant kids play catch up to their more hardworking peers. Unless you have achieved something like the Dalai Lama’s peace of mind for letting stressful things wash over you in a calm, you should avoid it. And don’t get me wrong. I love teaching (and I hate it sometimes, too). [Most of] those kids are a source of pride and joy. But it just doesn’t do your mind any good to do anything related to school when you could – and should! – be relaxing for these scant two months after what might have been the rockiest year of your life.

2 Responses

  1. Freeden

    “So, to those of you who are first-years, some words of advice: don’t sign up for summer school”: spoken like a true teaching pro!

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  2. kerfin

    yeah i didn’t sign up for summer school either. i was very quick to say no because yes, you need every minute of that seemingly long summer break! every minute!
    i pray that you are surprised by how good the good things are once you start again. hopefully not everything will trigger that negative autonomous reaction to your brain. 0_0 (maybe get a new keychain with sentimental value?) :)

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teaching kids to love science

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