Summer Vacation (A must-read for teachers)

There are some things about living in a small town that are priceless. I went to the community pool today, just me and my jazz. It is only the second time since we have lived here that I have been to this pool. I cracked open a new book and got set for a couple of hours of relaxation. Shortly following, there was a commotion in the pool. Seems a frog mistakenly thought it was a pond. Much screaming ensued. The decibel level went up considerably. I pushed my sunglasses back on my head and watched. This ought to be good. Soon I was surprised (but should not have been) that one of my students was the lead frog-catcher. He was yelling, “We gotta put ‘im back in the water so he don’t die. Somebody git ‘im!” (In all the excitement did not correct his grammar, because it usually takes him 5 or 6 times to get it right…plus, I am on vacation.) All feet and hands clamored to retrieve the annoyed amphibian. Each time he was cupped into a hand he managed to squirm loose, back onto the scorching hot cement. The group was headed right for me. I just waited. I mentioned, over the clamor, that chlorinated water is not good for frogs, and that technically it was a toad. I suggested that the grass outside the fence might be a better choice if the goal is to “save” him. Finally, after terrifying the mother next to me half to death, the crowd was successful…the toad was free. It was then, when I was surrounded by wet child bodies, that I realized that over half of the kids at the pool today have been my student at one time or another…including the life guard. All differing age levels now, but each took time to say hey before heading back into the water. Some hung out near my chair to show me their tricks…back flips, walking on hands, holding their breath and any number of others. Funny, I don’t feel that old. How can I have taught that many of these kids?
I know there are some teachers who prefer to live outside of the community in which they teach for this very reason. Being in public seems to invite parents to stop you to discuss the academic progress of their child. In fact, I have considered carrying conference forms in my purse when I go to Walmart for just such occasions. My own children hate to go to the grocery store with me because I get stopped a million times for hugs. It seems most kids don’t think that teachers have to eat and they are surprised to see me pushing a cart! At the pool, there is little time for relaxation now. Parents come by my chair to say hello. Kids are showing off the rest of the time I am there. It could be considered an annoyance I suppose, but I don’t see it that way. I see that I am making a difference that cannot be measured by a test score. I see that kids I have taught still remember that I care and they still care about me. It is a bond. It warms my heart on this summer day and reminds me of why I teach…and why summer vacation is a good thing.

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