Monday, August 15, 2011

Winnie the Pooh Ended My Summer

It's ironic that I've chosen to spend my life in school when I spent most of my first grade year determined to hate school and wanting to go home.  I was a nervous wreck as a child, and going to school each morning pushed me over the edge for a while.  If I were 6 years old today, they would label me school phobic and my parents would give in my hypochondriac self and I'd never go to school and I'd be a loser.

Good thing my parents had no patience for my histrionics and made me go every morning, even though I was sure that I was going to drop dead just by opening the door.  They were such hardasses.  Remember the 'self soothing' method from the second Fockers movie?  I think my parents invented 'self soothing.'

Once I was there, I was fine.  As with most things, it's the anticipation that kills you.  And do you know what that anticipation was that was killing me?  That we might have a fire drill.  How ridiculous is that?  Do you know how much I look forward to fire drills today?  10 less minutes with a class?  Beautiful.  Except for the year of the 20 minute drill in the rain.  But that's another story.

And the irony?  My father was a firefighter!

After 1st grade, I lost of my lunaticness and fire drills weren't so bad.

However, the thing that still traumatized me, and sort of still does today, is going back to school in September.  Yes, for all you southerners that go back to school in like, July, I've never had to go back to school before Labor Day.  Now that I'm a teacher, I have to go back a few days early, but school technically still does not start for us before the Wednesday after Labor Day.

I LOVE summer.  There are so many things I love about summer, I can't even make a list.  But the one thing I have always loved most about summer is the freedom.  Freedom from the weekly routine of school.  Freedom to develop a new routine that is totally summer.

When I was a student, it was the freedom from homework, projects, getting up with the alarm every day, having to go to bed at a decent hour.

Today, it's really not all that different although k-ster has to go to work, so we still do set the alarm.

It's not like I sit around eating bonbons, the way people think teachers always do.  "Must be nice to be a teacher and have your summers off!"  Yes, it is nice, but I choose to stay busy.

It's just a different kind of busy.  I teach more fitness classes.  I mow the grass in the campground.  And I work in my garden.  And yes, I sit in my hammock a lot and read books.  Lots of fun books, if I can.

Usually, I also take a grad class, which is usually a week long class.  I hate to give up a whole week and sit inside, but the credits are nice.

However, this is the first summer that I have not taken a class. I'm as far over on the payscale as I can be with my credits, and I don't need any for recertification right now, so I decided not to give up a week and sit inside in a class I didn't really need.

That also means that for the first time, I have been completely disengaged from school.  Well, that's not entirely true.  We spent a good deal of July texting about all of the changes taking place, mostly that we have a new principal and assistant principal.

This week, I will spend the week trapped inside with other team leaders and we will begin preparing for the year.  And I will begin to get my head back in the game.

So how did Winnie the Pooh end my summer?

Because every summer, as August started to wind down, my nerves would start to wind up.  Every time someone mentioned going back to school, my intestines would churn, because that's what I do when I'm distressed.  And I also walk around a lot.  And wish whatever change was coming would just go away.

One summer, we got the Disney Channel added to our lineup.  Remember when you had to pay extra for Disney like you did for HBO?  This was way before all of the choices we have today.

So, that summer, we watched the Disney Channel a lot in the morning, before we went out to play for the day. I was old enough not to watch the little kids programming, but I'm not sure how old.  Maybe 9?  My sister would watch Welcome to Pooh Corner which had the most annoying theme song that I am actually singing in my head right now.  It just won't go away.

That August, as we were winding down to the end of summer, and I was wandering around with churning intestines, that damned song would play over and over and over again in my mind.

And it still does today.

As we hear about nothing but back to school specials and end of summer things, I start to dread the return to the normal.  It's not that I am nervous. This is old hat by now.  It's giving up the freedom to do what I want after my one hour class is taught or my day of mowing is finsihed. 

 Going out and reading in my hammock when I feel like it. 

Eating whatever is in my refrigerator at lunch time instead of planning it at 6:30am. 

Making supper at 7pm and not being so starved that I might kill k-ster if the grill doesn't cook faster (I'm always MUCH hungrier during the school year and supper often becomes life or death in my kitchen).

I've been seeing a lot of blog posts about how to get your kids excited to go back and all of the ways parents do the countdown to the start of school.

The construction paper gumball machine that loses a gumball for every day that we get closer.

The paper strip chain where you take off a strip every day as we get closer.

Adding marbles to the jar every day and when it's full, school will start.

Do you know what that would have done to me as an elementary school kid?  Seeing that chart on the wall or the jar or whatever?  That would have killed me.  Dead.  I would have avoided that very place in the house.  It would have been nothing but torture.

I sure hope k-ster doesn't read this and get any ideas about how to push me right off the edge before fall arrives!

Winnie the pooh, winnie the pooh, willy, nilly, silly ol bear.

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