Archive for May, 2016

Summer world

Like What Now?, I’m starting to feel a bit summery.  It began today after school; I’d returned the last batch of papers to my sophomores, the building was quieter than usual, the usual stream of email had shrunk to a trickle.  A three-day weekend ahead, some tasks on the to-do list but nothing I absolutely had to take home with me.  We have review and the beginning of exams next week, and because of the AP classes, I will only give exams to two classes and have 31 tests to grade.  I’m sure I will falter when I first sit down with them, but really, that is not a lot of grading to do!

I got the summer-reading feeling first, the urge to plunge into a new book, with enough time to get absorbed in it.  I tucked a copy of Purple Hibiscus into my bag; I’ve been meaning to read it for years, ever since Elinor read it and declared it wonderful but too intense to assign to our tenth-graders.  I know that other schools have adopted it, though*, and SA itself is different than it was when Elinor was there; I’ll see what I think.

(*I believe Elinor actually teaches it at her current school; did I tell you, though, that she’s moving?  We were in touch because there was a slight possibility she’d come back to SA, but she and her husband really wanted the Pacific Northwest, and that’s where they’re going.)

The Snork Maiden and I had planned to go to the movies with FLS, but FLS wasn’t feeling up to it, which gave us a quiet evening at home.  I was fine with that as we have a fair bit of social stuff going on this weekend, the last one before Stubb leaves for his summer gig.  Definitely yoga–haven’t been this week. And Stubb and I will be away overnight Saturday to celebrate both our birthdays, which fall on either side of that departure.

So now to write a little, and then off to bed with a book!

Seven

…more days of classes.  Two of those will be days with no seniors, so one day I’ll have two tenth-grade classes; the next, just one tenth-grade class.

It’s good that a lot of things are tapering off, because there’s also an upswing in end-of-year tasks.  I have to write a new final for the tenth-graders–there might be a few things I can borrow from other people, but not much.  There are a couple of end-of-year report things and the finalizing of placements and teacher deployments.  A slow drip of students (not mine) who want to talk with me about their courses for next year.  A few disappearing seniors who have to be chased down for final pieces of work.

Twenty-one days into May, I’ve written on fifteen of them, missed six.  Starting on the Tuesday after graduation, I’ll be away for a week with the Snork Maiden while she does a brief summer internship about two and a half hours away.  She’ll be busy, I’ll be letting the school year out of my system, and that will be the start of my writing summer–which, in the very best-case scenario, might be about thirty solid work days (taking account of visitors, professional commitments, etc., and if there are no family health emergencies or other disasters–last summer had plenty, thanks.  Unfortunately there are ongoing family health issues, and I’m actually figuring those in as best I can–not that you can plan for sudden hospitalizations and so on, but I’m mentally setting aside seven to ten days for the usual disruptions of life to happen in, and hoping it won’t be quite that many).

 

 

Twenty-one

That’s about how many more days until we start exams.  The school year will be over in roughly a month.  We’ve chosen the valedictorian and the recipients of year-end awards.  Some plans for next year have been made.

I applied for four summer writing residencies and didn’t get any of them.  Not a huge surprise, since competition is stiff, but I’m still disappointed.  So I’m making my own plans for a couple of different summer writing retreats–solitary, unhip and cheap, but I think I can give myself much of what I need.

Meanwhile, I’m endeavoring to touch work every day in May so that I can launch myself into a productive summer.

The sense of an ending

I was thinking about how I get stressed by the approach of the end of the school year, and I was suddenly reminded of a half-remembered quotation from somewhere: “If I liked this, what about it would I like?”  (I think it’s the New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl, but with just a brief search I can’t find the exact quotation and a proper attribution, only other people who seem to half-remember it the same way I do.) It’s a great question for art, and perhaps even better for life situations.  So, if I liked the last six weeks or so of the school year:

  • I would like the feeling of really having come to know the students pretty well, of having seven or eight months of shared experiences and struggles and jokes.
  • I would like seeing my new colleagues settling in and getting comfortable, looking forward to next year, finding a sense of ownership about their courses and their ways of doing things.
  • I would like coming to accept what’s not under my control, of realizing that some of the year’s goals won’t be met, that nothing was perfect, that a lot of things went right anyway.
  • I would like getting ready to bid farewell to colleagues who are leaving: some because they are going on to new adventures and I’m happy for them, and perhaps just one or two that I’ll be relieved not to have to deal with anymore.