So everything is pretty much the way it always is in the beginning of June...except that this time around I do not have the start of a new school year looming like a monster on the horizon. It does speak volumes that for quite some time now every new school year has been felt as a threatening force just waiting to do battle. It didn't used to be this way -- summer was a simply a time to recharge the batteries, maybe take a class or two, and actually get happy and enthusiastic about the promise of another year in the classroom. However, now what we have to look forward to is standardized testing and a picking apart of student scores, performance reviews, masses of paperwork, an unending stream of usually nonsensical after-school meetings, teachers and administrators on ego and power trips, angry parents, and the endless series of hoops teachers are now required to jump through to repeatedly prove that they can do their job.
If one has a passion for the art, teaching has a way of taking over a person's life. I accept and even embrace this fact -- I'm proud that I am/was one of those kind of teachers. However, over the years, all of this mountain of garbage that is force-fed to teachers is what has taken over. It has nothing to do with teaching or joy or children's well-being and everything to do with power, ignorance and lust for bureaucracy.
So this is why this June, even though everything so far is the same, everything is different. This year, when August arrives, I'll be free of that particular monster. I'm already celebrating.