A few years ago, as part of their final assembly, a graduating class did a depiction of what teachers get up to in the staff room when they are away from the prying eyes of students. It was a good-natured-imagination-gone-wild-hilarious portrayal (to put it mildly), that had us teachers in stitches. So I decided to answer the question, “What do teachers really get up to when school is out and there are no kids around?”, Well not that anyone asked, but still what do they really do? Especially if they are faced with a four-day weekend? Labour Day, Saturday, Sunday and Whit Monday…Do they really raise the roof? Maybe a tad (but I’m a bit boring so make that ‘maybe a smidgen’), along with getting some well deserved R and R. Although, believe it or not some holidays just give us teachers an opportunity to catch up on all of that unfinished work.
But what happens when one teacher decides to spend one whole day doing absolutely nothing? On Labour Day at that? Here is how my day went…
I wake up at 5:30 to the sound of the alarm on my phone.
I’m ready to hit the ground running- bags to be packed, baby to be fed, chased around the room, given vitamins, chased again, showered, chased…until I finally hit the road a tired wreck.
Then I realize that I’m off today-and a smile spreads across my face. I’m not off today. No, I’m off for four glorious days!
By now I want to scream to the world that I’m on a break.
I decide to share it on FB then feel kind of lame for updating my status so early, besides it’s not just a holiday for teachers- the whole country is off today.
So I change my mind about going on FB, and say my morning prayers instead.
Then I check to make sure the shades are drawn and promptly go back to sleep.
I wake up late and make breakfast (if you can call pouring cereal and milk in a bowl “making breakfast”), all the while marvelling at how good doing nothing feels sometimes. No rushing to get through the door. And actually having time to savour my honey bunches of oats with some cold milk.
My son insists that I am his friend, so I act as his playmate for the rest of the morning. After all, being his playmate for a few hours is easier than giving him a brother or a sister to play with! (at least for now).
I check my email and realize that season 3 of one of my favourite dramas is now on NETFLIX. I think about bingeing all day on Mellie and Fitz’s White House secrets, all the while getting fashion tips from Olivia (and even Quinn), but decide to pass- today, being a Gladiator will be just too much work.
So I laze around for most of the rest of the day, at intervals making a mental note of which classes I would be in but am not, because it’s a HOLIDAAAAAY!!! SUNNY DAAAAAY- Well it’s a nice sunny morning a cool afternoon, nobody got to work and nobody go to school (Sing out Ding Dong!)
Whitney Houston describes the perfect day…
I check my Facebook updates a few more hundred times- never reneging on my promise to do absolutely NOTHING although it’s Labour Day (a day which Jamaicans take literally by the way.)
But still, I’m feeling a bit guilty. Labour Day in Jamaica is a day for planting trees, washing the car, painting, spring- cleaning, washing, and of course completing the ever popular community projects which leave everyone feeling high on- no, not on that!- high on peace, love and unity. Then I remember how the day is always wrapped up with some kind of Labour Day celebration in each community, or a huge concert at Emancipation Park- a kind of reward after all that hard work.
Bwoy gi a Jamaican a paint brush and some paint pon Labour Day and yuh see wah
happen- everyting pretty pretty
Now I’m feeling like a traitor. I know better than this! How dare I do nothing on Labour Day! Then I remember how crazy the past few weeks have been. I think about all of the exam papers that I’ve marked so far, about being a full-time, hands- on mom, completing training sessions and volunteering for the IAAF Relays. I tell myself it has been rough but strangely fulfilling. And you know what? I deserve a break. Yes I do!
I mean, only those of us on the inside of the school system can truly appreciate how crazy the end of the school year can be. The End of Year Machine grinds ceaselessly, pushing everyone to their limit. It’s an exhausting task. Although for me it’s also a task that is fuelled by adrenaline. It’s a race to meet the final deadline; and every year, when I mark that very last exam paper, tally the last set of numbers and eventually hit that final SEND button to register my students’ grades online, I feel this sense of accomplishment. Like I was stretched to my limit and I rose to the occasion. My version of the Emancipation Park concert will be a joyous eight week break!
Still there is so much to do before I can taste that freedom. Yet I push the nagging voice to the back of my head. On Saturday, Sunday and Monday I will mark the exam papers that I brought home, but just for today…I’m off duty. Time to update my FB status again 🙂