Lost Weekends

I have finally come to the realization that it’s okay to feel good about something - the fact that I have nine weeks holidays every year. When I first found out about this mighty wealth, the first thought through my head was, “that’s obscene.”

The longest time I ever had off (where I wasn’t unemployed) was the time Renée and I went to Europe. (For the record, being unemployed is not, as some right-wing politicians will claim, the same as time off. It’s hard work being unemployed, but that’s another entry for another time.)

But now I’ve come around. I realize that the nine weeks I get off every year are totally justified. At least, I’ve justified that to myself. It wasn’t hard.

RayFor one thing, the amount of energy I need to expend every day to keep up with my students, help troubleshoot their problem (while maintaining my patience), and be “on” around is staggering. Five beefy, hairy wrestlers beating the bejesus out of each other with large, pointed sticks doesn’t even come close to the amount of energy expended every day by a teacher. Really. I love my students, but they sometimes can be greedy lamprey, especially on days when I haven’t had enough sleep, or I’m Mr. Crankypants.

Plus, we don’t get weekends. I haven’t had a day off (excluding sick days, and a few days around the Christmas holidays) since I started, and I don’t expect I’ll be intimately acquainted with the concept of weekends until the last student dances their way out the front doors come June 30rd. It’s all part of never having enough time to mark, grade, and prepare for classes.

I’ve also gotten a reputation around the college as being a Mr. Fixit kind-of-guy, so I spend at least some of my day troubleshooting problems around the office; network stuff, server issues, Mac troubles… the usual. Truth be told, my nickname when I used to be a musician was “Radio Shack”, mainly because I managed somehow to fix nearly everything I touched. If I have an innate talent, that’s it.

Finally, there’s the whole idea of dealing with the fact that, come September, I’ll have to start all over again with a brand new group of students. I now realize that the school year is like a mighty, Aegean struggle; you portage this gigantic canoe that is “the curriculum” and “student knowledge” up this slippery, muddy mountain, and after the students go running off into the world in June, brains heavy with information, you start all over again at the bottom.

I haven’t gotten there yet, but I can’t imagine having to teach a whole group of students all over again from scratch. Right now I can barely keep up with this group, and they actually know things now. Starting from the beginning all over again? I can’t imagine it.

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