Saturday, July 15, 2017

Let Teachers Enjoy Their Summer

As soon as you walk into any grocery or department store, you are bombarded with displays brimming with notebooks, backpacks, pens and pencils. It's barely the middle of July, folks, and yet, there it is. School supplies for days.

Please do your child's teacher a favor this summer. Do not bring up the "S" word any time soon. I'm talking about the "S" word that nearly every parent mentions when meeting a teacher in public during the summer. You might be thrilled by the prospect of shopping for back to school bargains, and finding out when your little darlings will head back to class, but for now, trust me, don't talk about SCHOOL just yet.

If you must use an "S" word, let it be summer. Or seashore. Or suntan. Or shaved ice. Strike up a conversation about anything besides her employment. Ask her how her vacation is going. Thank her for going the extra mile. Ask her about her summer reading or if she has any upcoming trips. Just don't ask her about her work.

This is the first year I haven't felt like running away when I see parents at the grocery store. Now that I'm retired, I can laugh and joke with the best of you, but up until this last year, summers were sacred. They were for unwinding, relaxing, and recharging my batteries for the inevitable challenges that were in store for the upcoming school year.

My kids always knew they'd see me grit my teeth, and try to make polite conversation with anyone who dared mention school to me before August. Seriously? Teachers have the summers off, people! 

You may laugh politely as you insert the figurative knife, and ask, "Sooo, are you ready for school to start?" Then you might twist said knife, and follow up with, "By the way, when IS the first day of school?" 

Teachers may respond, and actually give you an answer, but we really savor our days of summer. Let us wallow in the precious weeks, days, and hours remaining. If we're in the school building, joke away! If you see us buying our classroom supplies in town, we're fair game. But, if we're soaking up rays at the pool, and have to peer over our sunglasses to respond to your questions, be kind and ask us questions that won't drag our minds kicking and screaming back to school before we're ready to face the music.

Summer is sweet. Summer is short. Summer is the proverbial carrot dangling in front of our noses all school year long. Let us enjoy every minute of our time away from work. When school starts, we'll be ready; you can count on that. Just hold off on using the "s" word for as long as you can. Teachers everywhere will thank you!

August 2012...the first day of school during my last full year of teaching.

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