Friday, February 18, 2011

Let Vacation Begin

School vacation is almost here. Today is our last day before a nine day break. I am always amazed at how badly the students and staff need this time off in February, considering that we just had time off over the Christmas holiday. In January I am thinking, "we could do without February break". However, just a few weeks later, it cannot come quickly enough.

There's a good reason for that. I am sure there are many reasons for why this particular break is so key. Maybe it's the fact that for many, the holiday break in December allows very little downtime for students and teachers. There are Christmas preparations, travels to visit family, decorating, cleaning up decorations, and oh yes, all the parties. As fun as the week is however, there is no rest for the weary. Students come back in January and begin to fall ill. The absence rate is higher. No one is at the same place with their level of preparation for class. Then the teachers catch their germs and we too begin to break down.

There is also the push to finish the first semester, to prep for midterms, and to strongly begin the second semester in between snow days and other weather-related disruptions. Buses arrive at school tardy, licensed teens take more care on the roads (we'd like to think) and do not make it to classes on time. Meanwhile, the athletes are gearing up for their tournaments. The artists are traveling to festivals and competitions. Cupid arrives to remind everyone to spread a little love after the ground hog has told us that Spring is just around the corner. But all anyone seems to want to do is to dive into a warm bed to escape the cost of yet another oil delivery and the chill of the temperatures dropping.

However, just as we're about to say so long to our students for this little respite, I find some pretty amazing things occur when I stop for a few minutes to talk to my teens in the classroom. It seems we're on the same page more often than we are not. I admittedly have a nice group of students this year. We're all ready for these days off so as to relax our bodies and our brains for a bit, but we are getting to know one another better now that we've spent time together and for the most part, we're going to be excited to come back on that last day of February so we can dive into March with enthusiasm. (Okay. Maybe that’s a little exaggerated...) Still, as I head off to school this morning, I am going to be able to genuinely say, “Have a great vacation. I’ll look forward to seeing you the week after next!”

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