I really need to start preparing for the end of the semester, but not in the sense of lesson plans and already have styrofoam cups so I don’t have to rush to the store to buy them because I promised my students tea. I need to start preparing for the sudden collapse of such a big part of my life and the emotional Ferris wheel that entails because, after ending another class yesterday, I’m riding through an hourly shift in “they were wonderful and now they’re gone forever” and “I can sleep Yayyyyy!”
I always know this emotional wildness is coming, but I’m never better prepared than just not being surprised. It’s like seeing it’s going to rain on the news, and then just hanging out until it does and saying “huh, probably should have brought that umbrella.”
I’ve been thinking about what I’d need to prepare for myself to get through this time next year. What could I give to myself? Sleep mostly. Even in writing this, it has taken me most of an hour to get this far because I keep closing my eyes to think and waking up 30 minutes later having thought of nothing.
I’d also give myself a blanket to throw over our head. For my purposes, a towel or pillowcase could work, but when you’re hiding from the world so you can let out a few professional tears, it feels nice to treat yourself right.
A hobby. I don’t know how well it comes across on my blog, but I’m not exactly overrun with things I want to do. I’m still in the process of figuring out what I like doing now that grad school is over and I’m getting through depression a little more successfully. Now that teaching is over, I’ve got more spare time than I need and no plans on what to fill it with. How do people–and I mean real people, not me–get through the long days of being able to choose their own adventure? How does anyone know for sure what they like doing? By the time I finish teaching again, I’ll have some hobby on standby so I can get through the newly free time without just sleeping my life away. Maybe it’ll be knitting. Maybe it’ll be carving dolls that look like people I hate. We’ll see.
I’ve wondered for a little while now if students think of the end of the semester in the same way I’ve come to think of it. I’m not so far removed from my experiences as a student to have forgotten my own thoughts on the end of the semester, but I want to believe that not all students think of the end of a semester as just another opportunity to sleep in and day drink. I want to believe that there’s at least one student I’ve had who, when the semester has suddenly ended and they’ve got all this time and none of the structure, they get a little sad, maybe miss the work they had to do and look forward to the next time.
I recognize my own fleeting and minimal importance in the lives of my students. I don’t expect them to long for the days of freshman composition, but I do hope they have a general sort of longing just for work they did at school because I know I’m not the only teacher that feels that way too.