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déborder: in French, this means “overwhelmed.”

Summer, in terms of the agricultural traditions we have in the States, is over tomorrow for me. Tomorrow is our first in-service day: it promises to be a day of reviewing the Student Handbook to make sure we, both new and old staff, are “on the same page.”

Last week, on Thursday night, I found out that I will be switching grades, from 8th to 7th. A few weeks’ prior, I found out that I will be moving rooms. This is a photo of my new classroom, after two days’ of moving from across the campus. I spent two full days using an old grocery store shopping cart, hauling my books, office supplies, flotsam, jetsam, debris, clutter, memorabilia, Beatlemania, Harry Potter movie posters, and of course, my Spiderman life-size cut out, from old space to new. This is how I left it on Saturday. I did all I could physically do. It was warm, no air, stuffy, and a very long walk with small threshold bumps and doorjambs that needed maneuvering and anticipation. This took approximately 30 trips.

The one vow I made myself at the end of last year is I would have everything mapped out, to the day, just like I had in years prior. Every holiday noted. Every student’s name on their own folder. Every composition book ready to go. Bulletin boards up, and away we go!

But, oh, that was not meant to be. And call it a sixth-sense, but I knew the best laid plans of mice and men would be wonky again. I chose to spend my summer like I had more sense: I played, I walked, and I got my toenails done. The best part of this summer was that my older son asked to have a French exchange student come stay with us for almost three weeks. He was wonderful: he fit right into our crazy family. We all enjoyed talking about politics, visiting all our favorite old stomping grounds. It was incredibly enriching to see his love of:

1. Relish (Really, France? Can’t figure this one out?!)

2. Baseball game (explaining the 7th inning stretch to him–worth the price of admission right there)

3. Krispy Kreme doughnuts

4. Dr. Pepper

…and him explaining to me the meaning of


powerful stuff, my friend.

 We miss him already. I have more to say about what I learned from him, from someone who is learning a new language, sharing cultures, and stories. He brought us many gifts, not least of which was an appreciation of eating a family dinner together again. He wasn’t feeling well when he first arrived, and it included a trip to the urgent care on that first Saturday morning, redneck with a head injury included to add to the tableau, and later he told me, that he knew he would be okay with us because I took such good care of him when he was sick. Are you kidding? I would expect the same from any mother, anywhere in the world.

So I will get my classroom in order. I will have a plan. And I will teach my 7th grade charges with love, care, firmness and high expectations. They are somebody’s baby.

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What I did on my summer vacation.

I know you all think I have been quite the teacher-blogger-slacker-loser since June. And you’d be correct. I have reverted back to a form, a self, pre-teacher days, and pretended like the summer actually did belong to me. I know the salary for a teacher is over a 10-month time frame, so the paycheck that came the end of July and will come the last day of August are for days I’ve already worked. (And if you know how lousy I am at budgeting, you’ll know that safety-net, those ‘nanny state’ controls are a godsend for me.) But our educational system is a hungry beast, perhaps who only hibernates in the summer sun, sleeping a restive, dreamless sleep.

Do I feel rested now? Yes, but only because I managed to push, push, push so many concerns to the corner. That edge of the metaphorical rug has so much grit swept under it, it looks as if it has a body underneath. I don’t want to worry anymore. I just don’t. But, I am someone who is used to taking the wheel, navigating the seas, charging ahead, and if I leave all of the decisions to others, I will feel superfluous.

Maybe I already do.

I have more to say, but am weighing out the words so the positive ones outnumber and negatives ones.

And I have a little more time. Shhh! Don’t wake it up.