Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Vacation Eve

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

 When I was a kid in New Jersey, school started after Labor Day and summer vacation started in mid-June. Then, when I began working as an educator, I (grudgingly) got used to a pre-Labor Day start-time, which afforded the bonus of summer vacation starting in early June, or even late May. 

That was my schedule for most of my adult life.

More than a few summers ago, I started teaching a summer class. When I taught in person, we met four days a week, with Fridays off, a schedule that felt sort of like an extension of the semester. This meant that although things slowed down in June, my actual vacation didn't start until July. Work was work and vacation was vacation.

Then, I moved to teaching my summer class online. For the most part, I like that quite a bit as it gives me a great deal of control over my schedule. With no classes to attend, I can pretend I'm on vacation when, in reality, there's still content to prepare and papers to grade.

A summer vacation teaser, if you will. 

To be honest, I'm not sure whether getting a taste of vacation is a good thing or a bad thing. My brain is half in work mode (and that's probably an overestimate) and half in vacation mode. The days are mine to divvy up as I please, but not all of the activities are what I'd call pleasing. I enjoy the creative aspects of teaching, so the content prep doesn't feel much like work. I also enjoy interacting with my students, which is harder to do in the summer, so I probably talk too much (even more than usual, if you can imagine that) when I actually get a chance to interact with my students on video calls. 

Grading is the part of the job that reminds me I'm not really on vacation yet. That little number on the learning management system app -- the one that tells me how many assignments are waiting for me -- unites with the little voice in the back of my head. Together, they gang upon me to remind me of my responsibilities, nudging me out of leisure pursuits with a dose of guilt that sends me back to work.

This week is the last week of classes, which puts me squarely in the vacation countdown zone. My primary goal is to make the little number on the app disappear so I can put that annoying little voice on mute. 

Wish me luck as I keep my eyes on the prize. 

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