The week before February vacation, I was as giddy as the students about having a break. We were all smiles and stories of what we would do, where we would go, how late we would all get up. Fabulous! I did nothing to cover my enthusiasm. Maybe I should have played the serious teacher. “Well now, ” I should have said, “just because it’s a break from school doesn’t mean it’s a break from learning,” or some other similar words of wisdom. But truth be told, I wanted the break to be clean and painless. Words like those would have traveled way over those thoughts held more closely and firmly by my students of skiing, t.v. watching, video game playing, and other such activities. That and I couldn’t help but think that in a couple of weeks time, the poor things would be subjected to weeks of testing, and they would need that respite for sanity’s sake.
My own vacation was jam packed with things I’d stored up for months on my to-do list. I indulged in books not found on any middle school reading list. I devoured one in a couple of hours like I was famished and had lasted months on crumbs and scraps. I updated the resume. Got an oil change. Had more than one balanced breakfast. So productive and yet relaxing. It was heaven.
Or at least I thought it was. But here’s the curse, if that was wonderful, than going back seems like something less in comparison. Especially since all I have to look forward to from this point forward is testing, testing and more testing. My enthusiasm for standardized testing is limited. I can pull out a fine “this is an important time” speech in front of the students just like the next person, but I don’t honestly believe one scrap of what is coming out of my mouth. Everyone knows that the results of the tests are more important to the school’s future than they are to each individual student’s future; everyone but the students that is.
The curse of vacation is that going back doesn’t seem half as exciting as it should.