I like the rhythm of school year and summer; it’s one of the reasons I became a teacher. But even though the summer brings a welcome change of pace, I don’t usually hope for unstructured weeks on end. During the school year, my life is segmented into 45 minute blocks and so to wake up with unscheduled hours before me can feel overwhelming.
This is the first summer in 19 years that I haven’t had some sort of paid employment. It’s an incredibly strange feeling. I’ve had to find ways of making little schedules or to-do lists for myself to keep from going absolutely mad. I’ve done yoga, gone swimming, read books, gotten massages, played games on my phone, run errands, and cleaned house, but there’s also been plenty of time where I’ve just felt bored. Boredom can be a good thing, especially for kids, and it’s certainly pushed me to check out places I hadn’t been before and do some things spontaneously that I likely wouldn’t have had the energy for in a more scheduled day.
(I’m aware there’s a great deal of privilege in how my summer is playing out. I have the advantage of a salary spread out over 12 months and an employed spouse. I have the advantage of not needing to work at a physically demanding job at the end of pregnancy.)
One of the great gifts and challenges of this summer is the reminder of how much I love and miss work, specifically paid employment. I suspect this feeling will continue into the early part of the fall. We’re expecting a baby any day now, and I’ll be taking a couple months off at the beginning of the school year. (No, seriously, baby, any day, given that your estimated arrival date was last Tuesday.) It’ll be the first time in 30 years that August has not included a return to school for me. I’m sure there will be challenges with going back to teaching come October, but I’m really looking forward to a classroom, students, and a schedule again.