The bells cease, their ponging electronic tones silenced. No more rush for the classsroom door, no more slamming of lockers, no more orange whales in parking lots belching out their human cargo.
Classrooms are packed and the custodians are moving in with harsh chemicals to treat all the surfaces and rewax the floors. The detritus of the past ten months overflow the dumpsters. It’s summertime.
A hush has fallen in the hallways. Teachers are posting the usual teacher-tired memes on social media. It’s summertime.
Right on cue, Grumpy Old Teacher’s (GOT) school has released its summer assignment list to students. In fairness, GOT’s school is an academic magnet high school, one where presumably teenagers forego personal time as a sacrifice to their future by advancing their academics so that they move into college with many college credits already earned.
Even so, the rebel in GOT is rising. It’s summertime. It’s time to put the books away. It’s time to give schooling a rest. Learning loss is an academic construct. Who says children stop learning over the summer break? Humans are always learning and much of the time it doesn’t come out of a book. (Or these days, a computer/software/internet platform.)
So GOT is not now talking to teachers although he has objected to summer assignments in the past. (Let them rest. Give them a break. Most teenagers won’t do the assignments anyway and do his colleagues really want to start a new school year by giving most of their students a zero on day one?)
He’s not talking to parents. He’s certainly not talking to politicians, administrators, and district officials.
GOT is talking to you, students, teenagers, and children. He has one wish for you: Have a great summer. Take time for yourself, indulge your curiosity and your passions. Go to camp, go fishing, go play in the park. Hang out with your friends and enjoy this time of your lives.
All too soon, adult life will come upon you with all its demands to earn a living to have the resources for yourself and others: housing, food, clothing, and transportation. You will never have this kind of time again in your life. You will bear responsibilities for others in work, family, aging parents, and children of your own. You will have debt and far too many of you will worry about money.
But not now. Now is the time for socializing, parties, barbecues, and the beach. Go to the pool and stay cool. Be cool. Have fun this summer. The books will wait. We will resume in mid-August. Until then, be kind, be crazy, be yourself.
And, if you’re lucky, really lucky, have a hot, sizzlin’ summer romance. There’s no better time for it.