Thursday, April 8, 2010

Overstuffed Teacher Bags And Extra Long To Do Lists? Sounds Like Spring Break To Me!

In New York City, teachers just went back to work after a luxuriously long spring break. A lot of Connecticut teachers have one just around the corner. If you listen closely, you can hear sighs of relief and audible anticipation coming from schools all over the East Coast.

I heart spring break.

(Of course, this is where the far-removed and unaware would insert their bullshit arguments about how teachers "get so much time off" and "have nothing to complain about" and "are overpaid.") (Kind of makes you want to tell them to either try walking in our shoes for a day or to just go and suck eggs, right?) (Or at the very least stick out your tongue as you roll over and shut off your alarm.)

However, spring break is NOT all flowers and sausages either. SOME of us make BIG PLANS for EVERYTHING WE'RE GOING TO GET DONE because we are TEACHERS, the universe's masters of multi-tasking and general getting shit done-ness. (All while we hold our pee I might add.) Enter the To Do List to end all To Do Lists. I'm talking To Do Lists so long that they are actually crippling. Mind numbing. Awe inspiring.

And then there's the bag. Which bag you ask? The Vacation Teacher Bag(s). (Insert people clutching their hearts and screaming here...most likely these people are former teachers who are all too familiar with the scoliosis inducing wonder and horror that is The Vacation Teacher Bag.) For those of you less familiar with this phenomenon, The Vacation Teacher Bag is similar to the regular Teacher Bag that teachers all over the country routinely drag to and from their classrooms laden with assorted papers, books and educational whatnot. (The whatnot could include everything from old water bottles to abandoned paper clips, old receipts to misplaced markers, but that's another post for another day.) However, the vacation version of the Teacher Bag is MUCH MORE FULL of both To Dos and Guilt.

Whether you run out the door the second you dismiss your kids on the last day before a vacation or you stay and get yourself organized for after the break, you most likely pack yourself a nice, big, Vacation Teacher Bag. You fool yourself into thinking that while you are resting, relaxing and cocktailing, you will also find a few moments to catch up on your correcting, plan that next unit or create a bevy of inspirational math centers. You know, because you can do it from your porch, in your pjs, late at night, early in the morning, from a sidewalk cafe...we teachers are pros at telling ourselves that we can DO IT ALL even though what we should probably be doing is catching up on sleep, crossing our fingers that we don't catch the spring round of flu, going out to eat and watching late night TV.

People, I have dragged all sorts of crap from my classroom to all sorts of vacations. Seriously, I have been to Hawaii with both my bikini and my planner. MY PLANNER. Is that the saddest thing you've ever heard or what? (The planner part, not the Hawaii part...and maybe the bikini part depending on how much time I've had to get my Teacher Behind to the gym.)

The worst part is, this can only end one of two ways. And both blow. The first way this can end badly is you end up spending a disproportionate amount of your time working on school work over your vacation, end up not getting any rest or personal To Dos checked off your list (There's always a list!), and return to work just as burned out as you were before it all began. Sounds rad, right? The other tragic ending to this tale is that you spend time (gasp!) actually enjoying yourself (Perish the thought!) while your Vacation Teacher Bag gathers dust and pet hair in the corner. The night before you return to your classroom (OH THE NIGHT BEFORE!), you spot your dust and hair covered bag filled with undone To Dos and feel a guilt unlike any other guilt you've felt before. Throw in the anticipated back pain from shlepping that bag all the way back to school and you've got yourself a recipe for quite the Debbie Downer end to your break.

And even if you are nodding your head right now and going, "That's totally me!" I also know that you are not going to change your ways any time soon. This behavior is part of our teacher DNA.

I wonder if those D-Bags In a Suit would bring home their work night after night, vacation after vacation if they weren't anticipating some sort of related bonus...

7 comments:

*s* said...

You nailed it. I'm on spring break right now, with two tote bags full of stuff I need to be working on. Ugh.

Mrs. F said...

I took my laptop with me, as well as my big hurking math book, teacher's edition, and my green paper grade book. Luckily (or unluckily) the Internet went out just when I was the most motivated to start entering grades, and somehow I haven't gotten back to it. Facebook, yes; gradebook, no.

Sunny said...

My school is on a modified calendar so we get two weeks for spring break and a shorter summer. Last year I absolutely refused to bring anything home over that time off. Did it stop me from working on school stuff? Nope. Sad.

Stu said...

What I want to know is...if I only work half time is it ok to only shlep home 1 to-do bag over vacation?

I'm in the middle of spring break right now...and I have been relaxing (and healing my broken heel)...but, I did do ONE thing from my vacation to do bag/list. Just one...but at least it's something.

Well...actually it's not quite done, but I still have 3 and half days. I'll get to it.

:)

Kim said...

The sad (but probably typical) thing is that a large chunk of the stuff that didn't get done on my Teacher To Do list is now stacked in my bedroom. It's on my "Teacher To Do this Summer" list.

Juan Pablo said...

I decided not to pack the teacher bag on my last vacation. I returned with an improvised teacher bag full of lesson plans scribbled on the back of napkins. tragic. i know.

LakeTeacher said...

I just wandered onto your blog and I totally heart it! You say things out loud that I have thought in my head. Wow!!! This is so me! I constantly have a stiff shoulder from schlepping the proverbial "teacher bag" back and forth. Mind you, I have the best of intentions every night to do something with it, yet usually end up falling asleep during my "quality time" watching tv with hubby. I used part of my Spring Break (break only meaning that I wasn't in my classroom)to find, adapt and put together take-home math games. Of course, I then went back to work just as exhausted as I was when I left. I swear if another person says teachers get all this time off I'm gonna smack 'em!

Who's Peeking?