Beth Hanlon, OFLA Executive Recorder and Editor of The Cardinal
Spanish Teacher, Oberlin High School
As the 2021-2022 school year winds down, the typical end of the year feelings are starting – the sense of accomplishment that I have made it through another year and the excitement for summer. But I also experience feelings of uncertainty…what do I do with this time off? How much time should I be dedicating to “school stuff”?
For many years, I would leave in June with the trunk of my car filled with boxes full of materials. My husband would watch in horror as I moved half of my classroom into our house each summer. I would spend the summer beating myself up because I had not “gotten enough done.” I mean, why don’t I have the syllabi for all of my classes done a week after school was out?
A few years ago, I realized that though I was working on “school stuff” over the summer, I wasn’t using all of the materials I was lugging home. I decided to downsize and managed to just bring home a couple small boxes. I worked over the summer, but I worked less, and enjoyed family, friends, and the rare sunny Ohio days, more.
The summer of 2020, I didn’t even touch the two small boxes all summer. My district had not made a decision about if we would return to school remotely, in a hybrid model, or in person, and I did not want to redo work, so I did not do any school preparation. Though it was a strange and socially distanced summer, I enjoyed doing other non-school related things. When our district gave us two weeks to prepare before students started virtually, I found the time to prepare within my work days and I had not spent my precious summer moments doing so.
Like every spring, I have a small list of ideas to start thinking about for next year. I don’t know how much time I will dedicate to that list this summer. I might get to it in June, or July, or even the end of August, it will be fine whenever I do because I deserve to take the time off this summer.
Have a great end to your year and I hope you can enjoy your summer too! Be gentle with yourself.