August Blues – Remind Me of the Sunday Blues
It’s almost that time of year again. All of you educators out there know exactly what I’m talking about, right?
A teacher friend once explained to me that she views summer vacation much like a teacher’s weekend. The second half of June, when we finally arrive to summer, is like arriving to a Friday night. Time to finally relax and look forward to some decent rest. July (in my opinion, the best month of the year for so many reasons) is similar to a fun-filled Saturday. It’s time to partay!
And then, August sneaks up on you, just like a Sunday. You start the morning off slowly, clinging to each minute, still trying to enjoy as much weekend as you can. But, as each August day ticks by, it does so in the same manner each hour ticks by on a dreadful Sunday. I have come to know this as the “August blues.”
Anxiety and apprehension returns to your body. And, as for me, I try to psyche myself up. Time to start a whole new school week over again. Another teacher friend once coined this as the “Sunday blues.”
I think everyone who works Monday through Friday gets them to a certain extent. I remember feeling blue on Sundays before my life as an educator. Only, when I started teaching, those blues seemed to grow exponentially. They penetrated parts of my body and my mind I had never felt before.
As I get ready for this new school, I get ready for a new position at a new school. And the new position doesn’t include a classroom, for the first time in 15 years. Starting this year, instead of consulting students, I will be consulting adults. I have a growing case of the August blues.
We have a great opportunity in our school district to continue growing our newest Montessori program. Even better, it is a dual language Montessori program. This was attempted once before by our school district. It didn’t end well. I very much want for this school to have a different fate.
Have I Made a Grave Mistake?
I must say, it’s always a little scary to start a new position. I’m sure most of you will agree. My mom tries to encourage me, “look at it as a fresh start, a clean slate!” An opportunity to reinvent myself. To start the next chapter in my career. It certainly does feels like the right time. But, the insecure part of me can’t help to ask, what if I made a grave mistake?
As each day creeps closer to the new school year, I fill with more and more self-doubt. For over a decade, I have known exactly how to prepare for what was coming. I’d have lessons to plan, and this would include some of the most important ones! Montessori’s First Great Lesson unveils Our Universe to the new year.
I was in LOVE with my physical classroom. I’d argue, one of the most attractive classrooms I’ve ever stepped foot into.
Being on the third floor, it offered a beautiful view of our neighborhood. In the fall, the view of the trees and all their differently color leaves is stunning. Something, on evenings when I worked late, I’d get a bonus sunset, too. My windows would glow in red.
The window in the hallway next to the room looked out over our Great Lake, at least when the surrounding foliage permitted it to. The school is over 100 years old. It holds onto great charm, gorgeous built-in wooden shelves and a well maintained wooden floor to match. I even loved the color of the walls –a pale yellow. And the Montessori materials? They are picturesque and beautifully displayed on the shelves throughout the room.
The Best and Worst Thing About Being a Montessori Teacher
Time to unpack the classroom, to dust off the shelves and to organize the books. I’d be preparing new materials for the first day of school.
One of the best parts of being a Montessori teacher is that 2/3 of your class is returning from the year before. So, instead of feeling nervous, I usually feel at ease and (mostly) relaxed. The returning kids seem to, too. They come in on the first day of school filled with confidence and excitement. They take comfort in the familiarity.
They are greeted by my Bluetooth speaker gently wailing out Billy Holiday. They know they will be preparing flowers for the room, organizing the mountain of materials forming in the hallway and giving tours to our new 4th grade classmates.
Our sweet new 4th graders, however.. Boy, I’ve seen a few meltdowns over the years. And rightfully so! They are leaving the comfort of their lower elementary classrooms where they were the top dogs. Now, they are in a new classroom with big kids and an even bigger, scarier teacher. Their new classmates reassure them as they come in. “I was afraid of Ms. Stefanie at first too. But then I met her and I realized she was actually nice.”
It seems to take a good year before the newbies come to understand my dry, and sometimes shamefully satirical sense of humor. During lessons, whenever sneaking in a joke, the older kids and I start chuckling to ourselves. Meanwhile, the 4th graders look on with confusion.
They want to be part of the joke but they must have missed it. Almost always, one of the older kids step in and once again reassure them. “Don’t worry, I didn’t get her sense of humor at first either. But, you will, eventually.”
The kids are by far the best and worst part of the classroom. What do I mean by worst part? One of the best and worst parts of being a Montessori teacher is that you share the classroom together for three years. So when they move on, it’s like losing a small piece of your heart. Over and over and over again. And now, this year, I’m leaving them forever.
How do you heal a broken heart?
Leaving My Comfort Zone
So, yes, I will admit I felt very comfortable where I was at. Choosing to leave has been when of the most difficult decisions of my life. Certainly, the most difficult decision so far in my career.
But, I take comfort in knowing my students from last year are strong and resilient. I have no doubt they will greet the new 4th graders with kindness and open hearts. Before they know it, they will have moved on and looking forward to their next endeavor.
So I will do the same. I will embrace my position with kindness and an open heart. I will look forward to this next chapter as an educator.
Are you ready for the new school year? Look past the August blues, we still have a lot of work to do.
Do you have thoughts on The August Blues or about going back to school? Do you have a suggestion for another blog topic? Please send me an email with your ideas or experiences at email@example.com.
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Read More: Montessori Method: Why I Wish I was Born a Child Educated with Montessori Principles
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