I guess we should be grateful for this cold weather, but I am always cold and dream of summer all winter long. I could use a swig of moonshine right now to get my blood flowing. Either that, or I should do as my former father-in-law used to joke, “Go to a blood bank…and take out a loan.” I wish this midsummer chill would turn back into some nice hot, dry weather. Meanwhile, we are just chillin it in Black Mt.
This morning two women came into the shop from Greensboro. I immediately asked them if they were teachers. “Yes!” they said in unison. “How could you tell??”
Here’s how. They both had that look in their eyes that teachers get as summer draws to a close and the classroom beckons. Is it desperation? Regret? Fear? Whatever it is, I know that look. Even though I have been out of the classroom for going on three years, I still get that panicky feeling when I see school supplies set out at the pharmacy and the back-to-school sales begin. I have several recurring dreams in which school has started for the fall, and either I don’t know where my classroom is, I have no idea what I am supposed to teach, or I am in front of the class and the students can’t hear me speaking and don’t stop their chatter no matter how loudly I call out to them.
Last night I had one of those dreams. In this particular dream I reported to the opening faculty meeting of the year at Charlotte Country Day School where I taught for twenty years. It was great seeing Mary Todd, Julia Britt, Sean O’Neill and Chris Martin, my former department mates, and we did our usual post-vacation check-in. Where did you go? What did you do? What did you read?
Then the headmaster stood up to welcome us back, and when he spotted me in the auditorium, he called out, “Stephanie, what are you doing here? You left, remember?”
I stood up, “No I didn’t! I’m not ready to leave! Can’t I have my job back?”
“No,” he said. “We have already hired your replacement.”
With that, I looked across the room and saw a young man who looked like a high school student. He waved at me. My replacement…
I’m not sure what that dream meant. I am grateful not to be teaching any longer, although I loved it while I was doing it. Teaching is an exhausting, strenuous profession, and I simply don’t have the energy for it. Also, the summer never seems long enough to recuperate. Besides, I am having so much fun being a shopkeeper.
This is my reward for teaching for thirty-plus years.
To all my friends who are teachers: Bless You! And even though you are not ready to go back into the classroom, be brave!