Happy August, educators! I woke up this morning thinking, “It’s August 1 already!?!” My husband has affectionately labeled this time of year for me as ‘August Syndrome’ to describe the conflicting emotions I inevitably experience each year.
Transitioning from summer mode to school mode often feels like a huge shift. The excitement about the start of a new school year mixes with a bit of anxiety about all I still have to do before the first day. Enthusiasm about implementing new strategies learned at summer conferences crashes into stress about jumping back in to a packed school schedule. Anticipation of seeing colleagues and students runs into my desire to spend even more time with my family and friends. I think about the impending twenty-minute lunches with duties, three-minute bathroom breaks between classes, uncountable questions from eager students and mourn for leisurely breakfasts after waking without an alarm, long hikes in the wilderness, and peaceful days without demands.
So, this year on August 1, I’ve committed to better balancing these conflicting emotions and making peace with the ‘August syndrome’. My goal for the coming days, weeks, months, and school year is to find more balance between work mode and summer-like moments. So today, I started with a yoga class and later found time to write this blog and update my website. After lunch, I enjoyed reading a pleasure book and then watched a webinar about working with English Language Learners. Later in the day, I made a spontaneous visit to a friend with a homemade birthday cake and then responded to work emails. If that kind of balance is possible today, I trust I can find it tomorrow, too. Perhaps if I approach every day as an opportunity for some work and some play, I will make it through August with less stress and more joy. If I’m successful with that kind of balance in August, maybe, just maybe, I can find a bit of summer in February, too.
What helps you transition from ‘summer mode’ to ‘work mode’? Please add your thoughts and strategies as a comment below.