Every year about this time, I find myself asking where the summer went. Now, I know that summer isn’t technically over. There is still a month of the wet, green season left. But I’m a teacher, so my summer ends somewhere around mid-August.
And before you say it, yes, as a teacher I have supposedly been on “vacation” since June 11th. I won’t bore you with all the teacherly reasons why that assumption is false. But I will say that I’m also an author. So for me, it’s not so much a vacation as switching gears into full time writer mode.
My summers are spent doing full time all the things that, during the school year, I have to cram into the carved out time between lesson planning, grading and actual teaching. This means posting, editing, critiquing, marketing, teaching, cover creation, tweeting, SWAG creation, meme and ad copy making and most of all, WRITING, as a full time job.
Which brings me back to my original point. Where exactly did the summer go?
If I look back over my calendar, I see that I’ve done all the stuff in the previous paragraph. There’s time blocked out to work on Gaia Returning (being finalized now) and Ghost Candidate (1/3 finished). I know I’ve worked on covers and marketing and editing for fellow authors. I’ve also snuck in some lesson planning for the coming school year, but shhh, don’t tell my muse.
I’ve done a lot, according to my calendar and my memory, so why do I feel antsy? As if time is slipping through my fingers?
I thought about that for awhile and realized that, even though it keeps me hyper-busy, while I’m doing all the writery stuff I’m also kind of singing under my breath. Why? Because this is the best career I’ve ever had, doing the best work I’ve ever done. And now, the time to do it full out is coming to an end for another year.
At the end of every school year, I find that I am tired. Teaching is one of the most strenuous, stressful careers a person can undertake. One begins in August full of energy and ideas, but by June, the temptation is strong to say, “Enough. Time to do something else.”
But so far, at some point every summer, my thoughts turn to first days, new strategies and tools, discussions, lesson plans and activities, and I find myself excited at the prospect of a new beginning. I start asking, “How can I make this the best year my students have ever had?”
This year, the voice inside is still asking that question, but it is a whisper now, instead of a shout. What’s more, the echo of that end-of-year voice is still with me in ways that it never has been before. And that is how I know that a change is coming, and will be welcome when it arrives.
This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy teaching or think it is good work. I do, and it is. Teaching has its rewards and I am glad that I took that path ten years ago. But there is a bubbling, insistent sensation growing inside of me, suggesting that perhaps, just maybe, the time is coming when I will need to move on.