Impending Doom: Or Why I Hate August

I hate August. I think it is the worst month of the year. All I can ever think about in August is school, but school hasn’t started yet. I dread the coming onslaught of school; the planning, the paperwork, the grind.

Now I want to clarify something, I don’t hate school. I mean, I’ve made it my profession. I actually love the place, but I cannot deny that it becomes an all consuming monster for about ten months of the year. Of those ten months, about nine are consumed with the grind. Everyone knows the grind. It’s that systematic repetition that occurs throughout the school year. The grind is the day-to-day activity that makes a school recognizable as a school.

I get a respite from that mind numbing monster for about two months.

September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, and May. It’s all about the grind. I like the grind. I thrive in the grind. To me the grind is the beautiful cycle that happens when teachers and students spend time in synchronized learning. I have never been a good planner, but I have been a good adapter. I work best when I can do something, students respond, and then I adapt. It is a process that has made me incredibly flexible. However, there is an element of spontaneity that comes with being highly adaptable. The spontaneity that happens in my class makes it nearly impossible to produce a detailed plan, especially when I do not know my students yet.

My flexibility and spontaneity is highly dependent upon having students with which to interact. Those students give me immediate feedback about my effectiveness as a teacher, more so than any written evaluation system ever could.

The whole process becomes mentally taxing. It pushes me to my cognitive and emotional limits during the year, and why school becomes so consuming.

And that’s why I hate August. I know the storm is coming, but there is nothing I can do about it. I know the grind of the school year is coming, but without my students there is nothing I can do to prepare in a manner that works best for me. So here I sit, consumed with school, the potential classes, the activities, reworking tests. Maybe I will even take the time to work on some of those things, but it will ultimately feel like wasted time without my students to tell me how I am doing. I am missing that integral part of my feedback cycle.

I have three weeks left of my break to enjoy, but the thought of schools looms and I don’t have my students, meaning those weeks are ….

 

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