Summer Vacation · 12 June 2009

It is almost summer vacation and I have conflicting emotions. After all, there are goodbyes and congratulations to give. There are projects and presentations to grade. There are yearbooks to sign. All of these activities bring me both happy and sad emotions. And they all signal the coming of summer vacation.

The coming of summer vacation might seem like a completely happy time for a teacher. I am happy and excited for the new beginning for the seniors, but I am sad that I must say goodbye to them. When they are gone, I wonder if and when I will see them again. After all, they became my children when they walked through my door. So like a parent whose children leave, it is both happy and sad to see them leave.

Summer vacation also brings an emotion like sadness brought on by remembering the school year. This emotion is not quite remorse or regret but something akin to these feelings. It comes from reflecting on what I did for my students during the year. I wonder whether I taught them well or if I missed a concept or forgot something important. I know I made mistakes and I know I will make more in the future. I wonder if I did right by my kids and it gives me this not quite sad or remorseful feeling. Thankfully, this helps me do things differently and hopefully better in years to come.

This year, I will not have much time for that unnamed feeling just described. Instead of reflecting on the year just finished, I get to be overwhelmed by a class I will be taking. I will surely learn much as I prepare for a class I have not taught in years. Especially, since the class starts the week that summer vacation begins.

Lest you think there is no joy in my summer vacations, I must say that I love my time with my family. I get up early for my quiet time and then I get to spend time with my loved ones. We recharge our batteries and spend time together preparing for the fall when we are apart more than the rest of the year. Regardless of the activities we do or places we go, I relish the time with my family. Joy fills my heart.

Almost as quickly as it starts, summer vacation will come to an end. I always hope to prepare for the coming school year better than I did the year before. But I rarely seem to do so. I am too busy playing and learning to do much planning. Then it is too late. School begins again and I wonder where the summer went.

As much as I love summer vacation, its onset brings many conflicting emotions. But I will survive the goodbyes and the tears. I will learn at my classes. And I will love the time with my family. I always do. Every summer vacation.

© 2009 Michael T. Miyoshi

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