Moving from teacher to student

My "Summer Vacation" began when this (the amount of of grading that I needed to complete per day to finish on time and without a weekend-long grading marathon)--

 My ambitious two-month grading schedule for the end of the year.

My ambitious two-month grading schedule for the end of the year.

became this-- (Slightly behind schedule, but making progress!)

became this--the very last three final exam essays for my 8th period English class, and the very last three assignments that I would grade for the 2014-15 school year.

I went home and let the realization sink in:

I don't have anything to grade or anything to plan tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or next week.

 The thoughts came with a mix of tremendous excitement and genuine sadness because, while my fellow teachers were beginning a two-month reprieve from the grading- and lesson-planning mayhem, the 5 am alarm clocks, and the challenge of guiding the next group of teenagers through the year's curriculum, I had turned in my keys, laptop, and badge and carried my last boxes of teaching materials out to the car, unsure of when I would use them again.

What will I do with my time?

The possibilities are overwhelmingly endless. At first, I did "nothing," which, as I have told many of my students who claimed to do "nothing" over a break, can be a great amount of fun. For the past two weeks, I've slept in only to take mid-day naps, watched episodes of Mr. Selfridge and Master Chef that have been waiting in our dvr, worked on a few at-home projects, read two books (Philomena by Martin Sixsmith and The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd), enjoyed a few visits with friends, and thought about packing for our move at the end of the month. All-in-all, the house looks very much the same as it did in June, our fridge is stocked with strawberries, milk, salad dressing, and little else, and I'm grateful that the weather is warm because we are out of clean socks.

What will I do with my time?

When I tell people that I've done "nothing" for two weeks, they are mostly supportive--"That's good! You should take some time to relax!"--but, truthfully, it is time to move on to "something," which is harder than it sounds. There is a lot that I want to do now that I have the time for it--reading, writing, learning, exploring--and a lot to do this month alone--cleaning and packing, planning for my sister's wedding shower, and trying to squeeze in the rest of the items on my Boston Bucket List. There is plenty to do; the hard part is getting focused on turning the theoretical into reality. Now that I've left my job, the pressure is on to make something out of this experience that we've chosen: it's time to move from "I want to write" to writing and from "I want to leave New Haven smarter than when I started" to making an active effort to learn and experience. It's time to make the transition from teacher to student.

Homework assignment #1:

What did I learn this week? 

I made frosting.