Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Beginning of Summer Ennui.

I saw them scamper
out of class,
so happy to be free of me,
and my mundane concerns
of staples, and folders,
and deadlines.

They had so much life then!

And now after a marathon
of pen to paper
and of grades to bear,
I'm free of them, too.

And summer opens to me.

When I was young, I traveled,
overseas, to the mountains,
cabins and fjords
and a spectacular desert.

And when I returned to school
I was annoyed at its
appearance in my life.
Was I not just in a jeep,
was I not just in cargo shorts?

Now, I climb the couch,
and unspool shows
off my patient and stuffed DVR.

It's only hours now, you understand,
but the summer ennui has begun.

I can't even relax right.

I think of something I can do in class
in the fall,
to make things go better,
to get the young ones more enthused.

Can't I just let them go?
They aren't thinking of me,
are they?



  1. Richard,

    You are doing right.

    While we often say, "Don't care more about their education than they do," the flip side is, "Care more about how you do your job than they do."

    You don't have to care because you love them so much. You don't need to feel guilty that you didn't think of this great teaching idea last year.

    You should care for the same reasons that other people care about their jobs. Care because you have high expectations for yourself. Care because you are a professional.

    If you are of a cynical mind, care because if you do a better job, it might counteract the continued decline in students each year. You have to to better just to keep them from getting worse.

    My response may only be tangential to your poem, which I now see wasn't even asking for advice. Maybe I just wrote this for me. Hope it helps.

  2. Richard, I totally understand. I takes awhile to "decompress" after the semester is over. Exercise always helps me clear my head. I replay all the events of the semester and let them go and my sinuses clear up as well.

    1. Ditto. I'm not even to the end of the term (just to the point where I can mostly grade without commenting), and I've got a summer term coming up immediately after grades are in, but, even in this brief pause in the pressure, I've experienced relief from certain physical symptoms that have been plaguing me for a while. I need to get back to walking, too, while I have time and before the weather gets too hot (I'm not an indoor/group-exercise sort of person).

  3. thank you for summing up the start of every single summer for the past 10 years. i have never really understood why i feel this way or how to stop, but at least i know i'm not alone!

  4. Beautifully expressed.

    I give myself two weeks to just ignore the flakes. And then I give in to the sound of the heartbeat under the floorboards and start thinking of how to make the Fall better.

    We are on quarters and I've had students asking what books I'm using next Spring. I have no idea yet. I'm just trying to get to summer so I can have time to THINK.

  5. Invite Calico to your class the last day! Have a pot buffet on me!


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