The August Itch

Lately I’ve been feeling like a junkie. I’m going through withdrawls especially after detoxing for the last 5 months. I’ve got the August Itch – anxiety, nervousness, the sweats, trouble sleeping. I need my poison. I need to get back to my classroom.

Every August around this time, I look forward to preparing for a new school year. It’s like New Year’s Eve and the first day of school is one big party. The smell of new crayons, sharpened pencils, freshly waxed floors, brightly decorated walls, and scared new faces. It’s my high.

This year is different. There’s no direction. No leadership. No answers. It is August 25th and yet we have no plan. Dates are pushed back and changed all to often, one day it’s safe, the other day it’s not. Some say they’re cleaning the schools, although others would beg to differ. Teachers, students, and families are terribly confused. It’s a complete wait and see game. “We will tell you the night before when to show up and tell you what to do and how to do it. By the way, here’s a 30 day supply of PPE. And if you don’t like it, you can start writing your resignation letter now.”

True Story. But let’s not get too political here. It’s for the kids.

If any one knows teachers, this is not the way we work. We like to plan ahead, WAY ahead. Planners and organizers, we can’t get enough of them. Name tags written out with fresh new sharpies, class lists studied, seating charts mapped out like a football play book. Working tiredlessly through the nights preceding the first week of school, mastering plans and ice breakers so they roll out seamlessly. But, it’s understandable, we need to be flexible, right?

I’m stuck in limbo. Do I go in to set up, or will I be bringing my classroom home? How many kids will I have? Who will be learning virtually and who will be in my presence, if there’s even an in person option? Do I buy school supplies or do I stock up on more leggings? I got the itch real bad. I miss my colleagues, I miss my classroom, I miss performing everyday, but mostly I miss our kids. The last I stepped into my classroom was sometime in April to grab a few materials. It was like time stood still, tumble weeds rolled around like an old western film. It hurt my heart to be there. I left with a glimmer of hope knowing I’d be back in no time. Nope, no shot.

I just want to go in. Let me at it! Give me my drug, I want it, I need it. Let’s get this party started. Toss the computers! Immerse them in books, drill them with math facts, write some poetry, play jumprope at recess. Give them a damn hug. Whether we are distance learning or going back into the classroom, I’m going in full force, better, and stronger than ever. I will overdose on school if I need to.