I love working in cycles; it’s one of the rarely-acknowledged perks of being a teacher. My job changes with each season, and every year represents something started and finished, rather than a endless pile of tasks that perpetually regenerate. It’s not really about getting summer break (which, by the way, is rarely a true break for any teacher, myself included). It’s about beginnings and endings, hellos and goodbyes, growth, change, and completion. What it also means is that I get a chance, at the start and finish of each semester, to turn over a new leaf. It’s kind of like New Year’s: out with the old, in with the new. Whatever mistakes were made are behind me, and I’m looking at a chance to start fresh.
For me, with teaching and grad school obligations dogging me relentlessly August through May, finishing first the grad classes and then the high school classes is like coming up for air after being underwater a long time. “Survival” is no longer my highest goal. I feel fully awake, alive, and intent on reclaiming the parts of my life that were lost while I was buried in busyness. I’m ready to get in touch with friends, hit the gym, cook new recipes, read great books, wash my kitchen windows, and sit on the deck with a glass of lemonade.
I’m ready to celebrate my second fresh start of 2011. Happy New Year, everyone.