Catching Up with the Runaway Train

School years are like cross-country train journeys.

Both follow a particular route, on a schedule at a fairly predictable pace. 

The typical school year looks like this: 

183 days of work {180 with kids}

New students every August {who you hardly recognize until January}

Professional development trainings {with varying degrees of usefulness}

Staff meetings {no comment}

Refining best practices {making the already good teaching better that is kind of painful in the process, but worth the effort}

A bunch of fun activities at the end-of-the-year {well, fun for the students}

Post high stakes testing, both students and teachers exhale.

Then we continue the job of teaching and learning at a much more relaxed pace until the last bell rings on the final day of school much like a train finally chugging into the last depot at the end of a long journey.

By mid-May, we’re starting to look toward closing out the year:

Completing report cards

Adding some ink to the permanent records 

Spending some time outside {go egg drop, field day, track meet, water play day!}

 Finally learning some science and maybe even doing some art.

I start talking more about how long we’ve been together and how much they’re going to miss me I’m going to miss them when they move to fourth grade.

Except this year was different.

Instead of winding down and closing up shop, we experienced a lot of changes, mostly at the administrative level.

Serious stuff.

Stuff one needed to pay attention to, but I can’t help but feel a bit like my long journey on my predictable train was hijacked my the time bandits and my even-paced end-of-the-year calendar filled up with meeting after important meeting.

I was left feeling quite disoriented.

Today is finally the last day of our long journey.

I’m looking forward to the downtime and battery recharging so necessary at the end of each stressful year. This summer will be filled with some stay-at-home relaxing, some thoughts of how to improve next school year, some traveling with friends and of course, lots and lots of yoga.

How will you recharge your batteries this summer? What will you do to take care of yourself so you can make sure your train stays on the track?

{click image for source}


6 thoughts on “Catching Up with the Runaway Train

  1. The train analogy was great. I will recharge this summer by spending alot of time with Katie and Maddy. Working out more, not because I like it, but because I hate feeling fat in my mushy 42 year old body. I ran 14 miles last week and marched up and down Aggie stadium. Sad part is losing weight takes a long time. 5 days of working out and my pants still feel tight.

    Oh and I have a few vacations planned along the way.

  2. I like it when the apple cart is upset every now and then. Most of the time we complain about how things could be run better so I try to take advantage of those rare times when change really is possible.

    As far as recharging, my year is 180 out of synch with yours. Summer is explosively busy for me (work & play) its winter, being snowed in, & my love of snow sports that really fills my batteries.

    But we share in common the knowledge that we do need that time and how precious it is.

    • @dfrenz: i absolutely agree that with change comes the possiblility for things to get better. this set of changes is overdue and completely welcome. i mostly took issue with the timing of the change. why not mix it up in october when we’re all workmode all the time?!?!

      time = freedom

  3. I can relate to most of what you wrote about since we have similar professions and schedules. Even though some of my students drive me crazy, they are definitely the highlight of the working day. When I’m on vacation, I spend some days with no schedule, just doing whatever I feel like from moment to moment. I also spend lots of time getting caught up on all the things I neglect during the school yr: haircut (last one was in Dec.!), massages, yoga, friends, boring errands and house stuff… And of course going to Brazil, which is really a lot of downtime, and I can’t complain about that. Have a great summer! You deserve it!

    • @jenna:

      i agree that students drive me crazy, but they are why i’m there. honestly, it’s the stuff that happens with other adults that i’m least excited about at work. there is a reason i work with kids instead of adults. i like them better!

      your break sounds divine and the word spaciousness comes to mind. finally a little breathing room to work at your own natural pace and getting things done without being a slave to the clock. ahhhhhhhh. love it!

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