Re-entry - FamilyEducation

Re-entry

January 06,2012
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I am not a procrastinator by nature, but I've been procrastinating about going back to work myself. It didn't help that there was some confusion about the start date for this semester's classes, and for weeks I thought that classes started this past Wednesday. I only realized on Tuesday, after a series of frantic text messages back and forth between colleagues, that classes start this Monday. So suddenly, gloriously, I found myself with a small handful of extra days. A small handful of kid-free days.

I finished a book.

I cleaned out my pantry.

I did some extra shopping for T.'s upcoming birthday.

I went to the Farmer's Market.

I exercised three days in a row.

And then, on Thursday, I gave in and went to work. When I opened the door to my office, I wanted to shut it again and flee. If you are not a teacher, you can't possibly imagine the mess that results from the end of a semester. You are in such a hurry to turn in your grades, you have to ward off a seemingly endless tide of students who only just then thought to worry about their grades, you are drowning in course outcome reports and attendance reports and incomplete grade reports and when it's finally done--when you hit "submit" on those grades--you just can't get out of there fast enough. This is why my office is always left a complete mess at the end of any semester. I had come prepared though, with two large trash bags and some rubber gloves. I cranked the music and spent an hour sorting folders and shredding papers and tests. By the end I had cleared a nice, presentable work area, and I felt really good.

But still not quite ready to work.

Then I went to a meeting. On my way I passed a small group of students I knew, and they called out to me and waved. Surprisingly, it was so good to see colleagues I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks. It was good to hear the Happy New Years and to catch up on news and, even, to plan for the new semester. I felt as I always do at the start of a new semester: happy that I have a job; happy that I have a job I enjoy, and excited about the fresh possibilities each new semester brings.

 

Happy Weekend!