And no, by asking you what your "sleep number" is, I"m not implying that the good people at Sleepys have gotten to me with their hilarious and adorable little sheep, flooding me with cash to pimp their goods. That's not it at all. I mean, geez, I still haven't heard from the geniuses at Sharpie and I am 100% ready, willing and able to Pimp. Them. Out. With a capital P. (Call me.) Yet as I wait for that call, Mr. and/or Mrs. Sharpie, please know that my devotion to you and your products remains unwavering. Unwavering.
By using the term "sleep number" in this post I'm actually referring to the number of days you brilliant teachers have until you get a good night's sleep (a.k.a. the number of school days left between now and the first day of your vacation). It's a funny thing...we love our jobs and feel lucky to go to a place we find so challenging and full of energy each and every day yet, at any given time, we can tell anyone the exact number of days until our next day off. Is that weird? I never quite understood that whole love-hate thing, but whatever, I guess it just comes to the territory. (Again, this is NOT a place for ANYONE especially NON-TEACHERS to make some sort of douche bag remark about teachers and days off. If you even feel tempted to utter such words, stop reading immediately and meditate on why you are so bitter that you must rip on teachers. What does that say about YOU, hmmmmm?) (Like how I turned the tables there? If that doesn't work, I shall swear to chase after teacher nay-stayers with a big old stick. Now that I'm not in the classroom and faced with the daily task of working on my dissertation in isolation, I can find the time.) (Yes, that is a threat.)
Maybe it's something particular about the holiday season that makes us feel the need to cross our days off on the calendar with a big old fat X. (Most likely done with a fantastic new Sharpie...See how I just worked that in there oh-brilliant-leaders-of-Sharpie? Seriously, I'm here and waiting by the phone.) I mean, to me dealing with my friends during the holiday season always felt a bit like keeping the lid on a boiling pot. A boiling pot of crazy that is. You see, the holiday season brings with it many issues that a classroom teacher must deal with that do not include a) making progress in math, b) silent reading time or c) getting anything productive done. Now that I think about it, maybe it's because the kids have their own mental calendars and are also counting down the days. Hmmmm....my giant ego never let that thought occur to me before. Huh.
Regardless, with the holidays come furtive discussions about the existence of Santa (I come down heavily on the side of letting them believe as long as possible...they were only 7 and 8 years old after all). These discussions can often turn into hot headed debates and, on a bad day, disillusionment-fueled fighting. During which I'm supposed to be teaching geography. Riiiiight.
Also with the holidays come whispered conversations about wish lists, the occasional Toys R Us insert casually shoved into the back of the desk where they thought I wouldn't see it (I SEE EVERYTHING FRIENDS), and general distraction. Kids are allowed to stay up later for some reason, they are taken on shopping trips with their families that send them into a tizzy for days and are most likely being stuffed with the same holiday treats that are causing me to gain a few myself. All in all, it's no party in the classroom.
What's worse, is that many of us work in environments where the drum was always beating - move on, make progress, keep going, don't stop for anything....
Teachable moment? Forget about it! Move on.
Opportunity for a moment of fun and classroom community bonding? Insanity! Must get to next math lesson...
Ability to let kids be kids every once in a while? Never!
Between the kids being nutty and the Powers That Be forcing us to press onward (like the good little soldiers that we are), the holiday season can feel impossible. Try to take a moment and enjoy yourself and your friends. Just shut the door, turn of the lights and have a math lesson handy in case someone walks in. But that's just me.
How many days until YOUR vacation again?