It’s a simple question that could be answered simply. How was your year? The year refers to my school year which typically starts at the end of August and ends in mid-June. Of course it could be answered with words like busy, hectic, demanding, difficult, arduous, tough, exhausting, and even Herculean. I’m coming up on three weeks of summer break so far.
Readers, thanks for being here. I’m happy to be here too and I’m working on catching my breath after a school year that can best be described as riding a tandem alone on a gravel road with a 12% grade.
A little bit about myself. When I’m not Bike Goddess here on the blog and out on my bike, I’m a teacher. I’m a teacher-librarian which means I moved out of the classroom to be a school librarian over 25 years ago. I got another Master’s degree and became a teacher-librarian or what many call a Library Media Specialist. In some states you are required to have a degree in library science, media or learning resources. I enjoyed being a classroom teacher and I’m glad that I was able to move into library media early in my career. That is the perfect fit for my skills, interests and passions and I love it. Yes, I’m hooked on reading and I love working with tech and research so together all these skills mean that every single year is different. People often think “You must get tired doing the same thing year after year,” and that’s never been my experience. Very little is the same year to year and the last two years have been formidable.
I always have grand ideas about summer break. If it were up to me and me alone, I’d be in the Greek Islands on a bike roaming about from beach to beach eating dolmathes and sardinis and Greek feta with some Αλφα beer but Covid and travel uncertainties and the general malaise of pandemic and politics have grounded me. At the three week mark I usually start to let go of bits of the previous school year. I’m still on track with that. It’s the point where I’m processing the year and my subconscious have formed a sort of story for me to explain how I feel.
Maybe you’ve seen the posts about how teachers aren’t doing well. Maybe you’ve even read about how there are massive shortages in staffing and substitutes. Perhaps you’ve seen additional posts about how teachers can’t focus on their own mental health because of the constant barrage of attacks on what they’re teaching and how. It’s hard to explain how it’s different than a “normal” year since we haven’t been operating normally for quite some time.
Recovery is real and educators are in recovery mode now. While I don’t speak for all educators I can tell you that we’re all hemming and hawing about the state of affairs. When you try to be positive there’s some naysayer ready to meet your glee with doom. July has always been the month where I feel myself loosen up a bit like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. It’s the threshold month when I start to recognize myself in the mirror and feel a tiny spring in my step again. That means that the focus, like when you’re getting your vision tested, becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day. It’s when I can see for myself who I am again and I start to smile and laugh with less restraint. It’s when my pace becomes steady and I settle into a cadence that feels restorative.
My subconscious revealed to me in a dream about moving a grand piano what my year was like. In my dream another colleague told me to move a grand piano to an auditorium several miles from my school. In the dream the colleague said to “just get it done” and his tone was hostile and aggressive. I said it wasn’t really my job to do that. They’d have to hire a moving company or get the school district to make the move. “Not happening,” he said. “It’s you!” In the dream I resisted until I didn’t. I caved into the pressure or expectations to move the piano. Next scene, with a group of several students we moved the piano on its tiny little wheels over the streets and down a hill amidst traffic to the auditorium. None of us alone had the strength of Theseus . We worked together. Hmmmm. Very interesting Sigmund.
I woke up thinking about both the absurdity and truth in the dream. It was another intensely challenging year in which I felt that there was nothing I could do to make things right. I overcompensated with certain tasks which left me bereft in my own life with things I missed doing, like writing and resting. The year was as hard as moving a grand piano across town.
We all have our pianos don’t we? I don’t know what your piano is but I do know that if we don’t rest and if we don’t take care of ourselves the weight is unbearable.
Thanks for hanging out with my blog today. I appreciate it.
Have a great day and get out there and ride your bike.