August is a deceitful little wretch of a month. Most people still consider it summer vacation. But me. . . not me. Not any more at least. This week I return to life as a responsible working adult with an alarm clock and dress pants and teenagers to corral into intelligence. Come Friday, I will lose my first name again for a while and become "Newman".
(Side note: as a student I only ever called teachers by their last name when they had reached a particular state of coolness. I'm not sure if that's the culture around here or not, but every time a student ditches the "Miss" and goes straight for the kill, I get a little cocky.)
Last summer was horrible. This summer was by all accounts perfect. I didn't get sick. I got to sleep in. I got to travel to parts of the world I'd never been to and checked a part off of my theater bucket list. I have my classes more or less prepared and my business owner responsibilities under control as well. This summer I became the master of both fun and productivity. Glorious.
But even the best laid plans get thrown wrenches once in a while. When you seek out chances to be involved in as many things as I do (I blame my mom's dad, who is also obsessed with being involved in everything), then stress follows you and gives you stress whiplash at inopportune times. Like when you're on vacation and can't do anything about it except ride Space Mountain until you forget for thirty seconds at a time. And when you're a slight (more than slight) control freak like myself, the only cure for stress is to just do something about it. Generally I make a list.
This time I needed to make two. I needed to make a list of things I need to do to handle said new form of stress, and I needed to remind myself of why I like my job at all. So now I present to you a list of reasons both profound and ridiculous as to why I have the best job in the world. I do this to make you supremely jealous. They are in no organized order.
1. I get an excuse to look nice every day and wear all of my numerous pencil skirts. I love pencil skirts. And looking nice.
2. I am essentially paid to run a book club five days a week. This is fantastic. Because I love talking about books with people.
3. I get to buy school supplies. But no seriously. New notebooks and pencils and staplers and pretty whiteboard markers (!!) and paperclips and Post It Notes (!!) are my favorite things ever. And now I can excuse my purchases of new pens I don't need but really want as completely necessary for getting through a stack of essays.
4. I get to work with a large number of seriously cool people. I love the staff of my current school. They are funny and hard working and generous to one another. When someone is successful it is something that we cheer, not something we're jealous of (as often happens in professional settings). When one teacher does something innovative, other teachers try and find ways to adapt and grow their own classes as a result. This is unique and wonderful and I am grateful to be surrounded by people I like.
5. I have an awesome classroom. The walls are painted. There are couches. There are pictures of places I love on the walls and books and a large selection of Pixar movies and shorts I can draw from for fun examples of how not to suck.
6. I have awesomely creative students that are enthusiastic and interesting and funny. I love the life they bring to my room and the ideas they share. They take my rule about not being boring quite seriously, which I appreciate.
7. I have supportive parents who help organize things I don't have the time to organize and who trust me with the minds (and lives) of their kids. I value and appreciate that trust.
8. I get to, for the first time ever in four years, teach mostly classes that I have taught before. This. Is. Miraculous.
9. Our school lunches are actually really good. Which is awesome because lunch is the one meal of the day I would skip if I could. It's just boring and way too much work to be good most of the time. As evidenced by the fact that I have sometimes completely forgotten about it this summer.
10. I've had lots of great non-school opportunities as a result of working where I do. The most awesome of which is, of course, the theatrical opportunities I've had lately. Two shows in one summer. Haven't done that in about six years. And both parts are bucket list parts.
So, yeah. I'm a bit tired and overwhelmed at the moment. Not everything is perfect. But since when has everything been perfect? I just know that those not so perfect aspects of my life are, in many ways, out of my control, and therefore a waste of my time to stress about. What I can stress about is finding the coolest new pens on the market and restocking my whiteboard markers. And getting my sleep schedule back to "normal" (6:30 AM will never, ever be normal to me. Even when it's normal. It's just not right.) And making sure my lines are memorized. And picking out my first day of school outfit. Which is still a very important decision.