So, I have this ritual each year before Winter Break. I clean my classroom, to rid it of the viruses that cause scary maladies. I inhale the fresh Clorox and Virex as I scan the pristine room. I walk out the door and look back at my clean classroom, bidding it farewell until the new year. It seems like it will be an eternity before I return. I believe I exit in slow motion as the door gently shuts behind me.
Let’s see, I have three weekends, and roughly 17 days I can sleep in. I must make the most of my time off. I’m going to make cookies, lots of them. We will sing around the tree. I’ll finish writing my book and submit 5 query letters. I’m going to lesson-plan for the next six weeks. I’ll finish reading 6 novels. I will not go into debt shopping and I’ll run 5 miles a day. I’ll cook real meals with ingredients that don’t have to be thawed. I’ll have a conversation with someone that does not relate to school in any way. I’ll take up knitting and make hand-made presents for everyone!
Well, the first week passes quickly because I was not prepared for the holiday. My obsession with a white Christmas tree obliterated the rest of the daily plans. There are royal blue poinsettias and feathers donning the artificial white pine. It glows magically as I walk by. Although I slip off of a chair in my UGGS decorating the tree, it was all worth the toil. Macy’s will want this tree! Then I realize that I must have wrapping paper to match the color theme. Off I go to Target, again. The tree is done but there are no cookies. What lesson plans?
Christmas day arrives. After I make vanilla scones, eggs, and potatoes,I sit on my sofa, reading THE HUNGER GAMES. The snow falls gently. I know this because I have positioned myself on the couch facing the window to our deck. Nope! Not leaving the house for any reason today. Suddenly, a flash of my pristine classroom flits by my mind. ERASE! NO! My room is so far away and no one is at the school today…or are they? This is the beginning of a new diagnosis that teachers face. It is preparation paranoia. It is the fear that others are working at the school when you are not.
When I woke up this morning, I realized that the sheer lamenting over Winter Break ending has in effect, ended it. Well, I have five more mornings to sleep in.
January. That is all I have to say and people grunt, moan, and their postures suddenly slump. For the teacher January means the following:
- CRCT madness
- Writing Test Preparation for 5th grade
- Being cold all of the time
- Student amnesia
- Hearing ourselves say, “But do you remember we did this before the break?”
- A sudden but inexplicable count down to Spring Break
So, as the overachiever and teacher in denial, I will most likely plan some huge activity that will whisk us away from the January doldrums. The stress this brings will make my distant memories of Winter break dissolve like cotton candy. We will make memories and have fun and I will not think about sitting on the green couch, reading, and watching the elegant snow fall.
I’ll finish my book during Spring Break. I’ll make Easter cookies and we will sing around the Easter bunny. We will frolic in the Spring air as we count our days to Summer vacation.