In less than 12 hours, the bell will ring and I will embark on my 10th spring semester of high school. Actually, if you want to get technical, it’ll be my 15th since I actually endured four years of high school myself and I did spend that one semester substitute teaching after graduating college. The length of time I’ve been doing this isn’t nearly as important as the miniscule amount of time I have left before I have to begin doing it all again. In fact, that 12 hours is actually a generous number since my alarm will begin blaring around 5:15 tomorrow morning, signifying the actual start of my day.
Some people are probably thinking, “suck it up, you’ve had two weeks off.” And while that is true, I can’t help but bemoan the fact that my days of sleeping in until 7:30 or even 8 am are gone. My mornings spent building block castles only to have my son knock them down like the baby Godzilla he is, are over. My afternoons spent sipping Diet Coke while I check my email, or get really wild and play The Sims are no more. Worst of all, my evenings of staying up until midnight (gasp) and watching movies with my husband, well, you get the picture.
Sure, I’ll have the weekends, but I know that in addition to some of these little luxeries, I’ll be catching up on piles full of grading, writing/revising lesson plans, cleaning the house I neglect during the week when I don’t get home until 5 or so and even though I may want to stay up, my body will give in and I’ll be in bed by 10:30, even on Friday and Saturday nights. The school year drains me of all my extra energy and it’s usually one long drudge until summer with a tiny reprieve for spring break.
The spring semester is actually much harder to make it through than the fall semester. Fall semester has lots of little breaks: Labor Day, fall break, Thanksgiving break and of course, Christmas break. In the spring, well, there’s pretty much spring break. If we are lucky and haven’t had any snow days, we get MLK day, but that comes so close to the start of the semester that a break is hardly needed. Fall semester is still full of those languid summer days and even the transition to fall has daylight at say 7 o’clock. The temperatures dip into sweater and jacket weather, but heavy coats aren’t needed all that often. Spring semester, despite its name, contains the two cruelest winter months: January and Febraury. The sun doesn’t rise until well after classes has started and sets before the school day ends. Many days the sun stays hidden behind the horrid clouds, making it impossible to think of anything positive.
This semester is going to be particularly painful since my classes have jumped in size from 22 to 31 and from 28 to 36. Even my small AP class has gone from 12 to 15. Tomorrow morning I’ll be scrambling to find someone with extra desks as my classroom only had 34 when I left for break. The extra students mean extra grading. Considering our department has a strict 8 essays a semester policy, if they all turn them in, I may never see the light of day again, even if the sun manages to struggle free and shine.
Oh, to make this week even harder, my husband is out of town on a business trip. For the next five days, it’s just me and the monkey. And while he may be a delight most days, he’ll be readjusting his napping/eating/playing schedule, and I’ll be doing everything by myself.
This is going to be a hard, hard week.