With the last of my finals over, the last of the 55 essays critiqued and grades submitted to the registrar, I should be elated. I should dive into the pile of words I've been meaning to sort through all year, ideas I've stashed in various crevices of my brain and on the backs of crumpled receipts. I should write. I should nap. I should watch a movie. It is summer vacation! But I've always preferred fall to summer, and to be honest, I already miss my students as much as I used to miss my teachers when I was a little girl.
I guess that means I'm in the right profession. School is where I feel most complete. Most alive. Most likely to succeed. (Did you know that I was featured in my senior yearbook beside this prediction? Of course the other kid voted Most likely to succeed became a brain surgeon or something. Seriously. This is not me trying to be funny; I believe the man actually operates on brains. But how does one define success, anyway?)
Aside from some really extraordinary things - things like taking a trip to Italy with my family - I will probably spend the summer doing what I did as a kid: playing school. Reading up on books I want my students to read. Plotting out my lesson plans. Sharpening pencils...
Here is a video of some of my students conducting a mock-trial for their final presentation grade. Half of them were prosecuting President Bush and the rest of the federal gov't for failing to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina; the other half tried to pin the horrific relief efforts in New Orleans on the local and state gov't. Very compelling stuff. I filmed their arguments on my phone, and my stupid thermos has a starring role, but I am proud of what they accomplished - of their creativity and zeal. And of the fact that I actually figured out how to upload something to YouTube. That's the great thing about being a teacher - there's always something new to learn.