It’s teacher whiny season again.
August is here, the first week of school looms just around the corner (if you haven’t begun already,) and teachers begin to bitch and moan.
“Noooooo…” I hear the repeated cry from people for whom, apparently, three months off a year just isn’t enough. “I don’t waaaaaaant to go back.” Knowing that my dear readers would be looking to SP to offer a little sympathetic humor about the cruel end-of-summer return to the classroom, I thought I would oblige by gently and lovingly telling you to shove it.
You.Have.Three.Months.Off. Two in the summer, winter break, spring break, some sort of fall/Thanksgiving break as well as most, if not all, of the other national holidays that people with “normal” jobs receive. You are being a whiny, spoiled brat and you know it.
So let’s be compassionate for a moment and recognize that we get more vacation than the vast majority of the American population. In fact, right now, I’d like to ask you to hold a moment of silence for all of those unfortunate souls who live in a world where their annual time off is only the equivalent of our winter break…
Alrighty, then. That’s about enough of the compassion piece. Back to shoving it. Plain and simple, you want to go back to work. The beginning of the year is chock full of little delights and perks that you won’t see any at any other time. And, being the considerate (and compassionate) blogger that I am, I figured I’d spell them out for you here, just in case for some bizarre reason, you are still waking up with that “Noooo…you can’t make me go back!” mantra running through your head.
Reasons You Want To Go Back To Work (whether you know it or not):
First and foremost…
1. The paycheck.
C’mon. You know you want to get paid. I’m not saying that you’re ever going to get rich teaching, but so far as I can tell most of you like such activities as eating. Having indoor plumbing. Buying new underwear without skid marks or holes. Is your life overflowing with these little luxuries? Then stuff a sock in it and deal with being gainfully employed.
2. A clean classroom.
It’s the teacher version of sleeping in a hotel where you come back from breakfast and your bed is made, bath towels are clean, and and someone has restocked all your shampoo, conditioner and hand soap (even if they are the kind of cheap brands.) The first weeks of school are the only time your room is going to be a bright, shiny, mayhem-less space, so wallow in it. Put on the fresh socks that you bought with your neat little paycheck and slide across the freshly-buffed floors. Eat a cookie off the student desks while they’re still bleached clean, before they’re covered in snot and drool. Admire what your computer without its usual layer of dust. No gross gum in weird places. No smuggled food wrappers or drink bottles. No outdated bulletin boards. Yes. This. This is what teaching should look like.
3. Good behavior.
Ha. You thought I was talking about the students. Maybe. It’s true that overall you can consider the first two days of school or so a brief reprieve from fielding behavior issues. Not because you’re a fantastic teacher, but because it takes students (on average) about two days to case the joint and figure out where to most effectively take that first jab. After two days all bets are off, so enjoy it while you can. But the good behavior rule doesn’t just apply to students. Teachers and admin glow with good manners as well. Everyone has just come back from a long break. We’re all rested and reasonably upbeat. This might be the only time of year that those colleagues that always make you nuts don’t make you nuts. Is there something you’ve been wanting from a coworker that you haven’t been able to get because he/she is too cranky or weird? This is the time of year to approach it. Switch out desks. Switch out rooms, steal their best games, get them to turn in that paperwork that you’ve been needing from them for the last year.
Stock up on the goodwill and collegial cheer now, because after about a week, the chronically crabby let their true colors show. But that’s alright. We are who we are, and we all have our faults, which brings me to the last (and perhaps most important) Reason You Want To Go Back To Work.
4. Saving yourself from yourself.
Deny it all you want, but living on permanent summer vacation could kill you. In my experience, there are two types of summer teachers: the psychotically hyperactive and the borderline comatose. Neither is healthy. Take the first type, for example. These are your colleagues who, once the bell rings on that last day of school in June, take a deep breath and…
”OhmygodnowIhavetocleanmyhouse,remodelthebathroom,runthreemarathons, cookenoughfoodtosurviveanuclearholocaustandsavethewhales ALL ON MY OWN!”
One of my dear friends is the perfect example. In addition to teaching yoga three times a week, she signed up to take unlimited yoga courses herself, meaning that the entire summer she was twisting her body into freakish poses about as often as the rest of us eat. Of course, in the interest of not letting a moment go to waste, she also ran 20 miles a week, summited several mountains, produced a vegetable garden so large that it ate her front porch, cooked all her food from scratch, preserved food for the rest of the year, went on two (or three?) vacations, and regularly attended social events with friends. Among other activities. Death by exhaustion?
Or at least a serious risk of strangulation by zucchini plant.
On the other end of the spectrum lie those dear friends who move from bed, to couch, to fridge, to couch, to beer, to bed, to…
You can’t handle your freedom. You drink too much, sleep too much and, I guarantee, you spend entirely too much money.
So do yourself a favor.
Shut your piehole and go back to work.
We need you.