Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Penultimate Day

If you're tired of my laments about the end of summer and the return to school, just jump on over to one of those links in my sidebar.

It was the second to the last day of the academic year when I snapped this photo of myself on June 11th.

I'd said farewell to my students for the last time maybe an hour or so before I took this shot.  There was only one day left - a faculty day - and as soon as the dismissal bell rang that next day I was on my way out west to start the vacation that seemed like it would be deliciously long.

I remember sitting in that chair the second when the shutter opened.  The whole summer was before me and it felt really good to be in that moment looking forward to it all.  If you could see under the beard well enough, that would be a look of smug satisfaction played across my face.

I took that same shot as best I could this afternoon about an hour after I left the school following our opening faculty meeting and scheduling session.  Just as the first shot was taken on the second to the last day before summer vacation started, this one was on the second to the last day of the ending of that same vacation. (Saturday and Sunday don't count 'cause they're not work days.) It just seemed fitting to be in that same place to bring it all to an end.

It was a hugely emotional summer for various reasons that I don't discuss here.  There were very high moments, and very low ones as well.  I guess one of the best parts in having the time off is that I can afford to emote openly  and freely without having to pretend that everything's just perfect in my world every day.

The worries, concerns, and responsibilities of adulthood are as far removed from the understanding of school kids as is my understanding of what makes High School Musical so popular with them.  If you work with a bunch of other adults, there's some possible empathy to be gotten if you happen to share with them the things that are going on in your life.  To bring such things into a classroom, though, would be totally inappropriate.

I think my only true regret about going back to work is that - that I have to be convincingly happy all the time.  I owe it to the kids.  They're only going to be kids for so long, and then - they'll have their whole own lives to work on dealing with the harsh realities that adulthood brings with it.


irondad said...

You make an interesting point. I love teaching but only have my students for a few days. It would interesting to see how I'd do being "on" for months at a time. I respect you for it.

Did you mean to look so contemplative and almost resigned in the last photo?

Joe said...

Actually, Dan, I was going exactly for that resigned look! I'm thrilled that you spotted it!