I'm sure a lot of people think that, simply because I spend my days working within the hallowed halls of the public school system, I get to enjoy two months of summer vacation. I'm sorry to burst bubbles, but this just isn't true. I work. All year. Mostly.
There are the standard nine months of the regular school year. Those work days are a given. Of course, you can subtract a few weeks of time off due to various holidays. Depending on how the planet's ecosystem is doing from year to year, one could also subtract a number of cancellations due to inclement weather. But that's what we expect from a school year.
Then we arrive, in time, at those glorious summer months. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a teacher. Part of my reasoning was so that I could continue to enjoy summer vacations as an adult. As an adult, I'm fairly certain that summer vacation doesn't mean the same to teachers as it does to students. I have no doubt that it's a nice break away from the classroom for the teachers, just as it is for their students. But adulthood brings responsibilities that don't just go away because school's out. I can't say anything for sure, because I'm not a teacher. I'm a counselor.
I'm a counselor that works all summer. Yesterday, the non-profit for whom I work began its annual summer program. They place us, the counselors, in classrooms with students from all over the county that we serve during the regular school year. I've been given, along with a co-counselor, the responsibility for therapizing a handful of pre-K through 1st graders.
Are you afraid that I haven't had a chance to relax? Are you afraid that I went directly from the last day of school into the first day of summer counseling? Of course you're not. Because you are a loyal Carp Dime reader and you, no doubt, noticed an inconvenient absence of new material during that week plus that I was in and out of cyberspace. I had time to relax, kids. Fear not.
My first official day of summer break was uneventful. Well, the whole weekend was kind of uneventful to be honest. Looking back, I have no memory of that weekend. If I did something with you during those three days after the last day of school, I apologize for being flip about it. But it's been a couple weeks since those days occurred. I'm lucky to remember what I had for lunch today. Actually, I know exactly what I had for lunch today. Turkey, cheese, baby spinach on whole wheat. I know this because it's the same thing I fix for my lunch every day that I pack. Which is every day.
The first Monday of my summer vacation saw me hanging out with teachers. And several students from my school. It's like I can't get away from it. I only had a week and a half off, and I found myself surrounded by people I'd seen every day for the past nine months. What was I thinking?
I was thinking that I wanted to have a fun time during my little bit of time off. These are teachers that I've come to consider good friends over the course of the school year. And the students? They're actually those teachers' own children. I had a delicious lunch with them at the local Chick-Fil-A, followed by a couple hours of browsing at the Goodwill. After all that, we wrapped up the afternoon with some Sweet Frog. That might have been my favorite part.
The next day, I left town. I drove down to Wake Forest, North Carolina to visit for a few days. I hadn't been down there in nearly two years, not since a few months after I moved back to Virginia. Look, the Raleigh area isn't the glamorous vacation spot that most people would look for when they have a week away from work. But it was incredibly relaxing for me. And I had a blast.
I was able to visit with my cousin and his family, my former boss, and the Most Awesome Person I Know. There were no grand adventures. We didn't solve the current financial crisis. We just spent time hanging out, catching up on the last couple years and laughing. Oh, and most of these events were accompanied with food. That's always a good idea. Talking with food.
So there you have it. I was able to enjoy my time away from school. I'm back to work now and kind of miss that vacation. But I am happy to be earning a paycheck again. That whole unpaid vacation thing is kind of a drag. At least, it will be when July comes and the vacation shows up (or doesn't show up) on my paycheck.