I got queasy this morning. When I unplugged the charging cord from my phone I realized it was now August. I stayed in bed instead of immediately getting out of my covers and rushing to drink water, brush teeth, and boil eggs, because I realized that…it was August. August, especially that first week, is a blessing and a bitch at the same time. Two years of the same August month has been a curse that is hard to talk about. Because, you know, teachers have it all easy and shit. Getting mentally ready to gear up for physical school, the bricks and mortar type, while this pandemic pushes out variants that I can’t care to learn presses on the anxiety that would nominally be there at the beginning of every August. This August, for a strangely particular reason, feels obscure. It just feels off.
Maybe it’s because I’m entitled. To be honest, summer break hasn’t felt like summer break since 2019. And when I went back to work in the fall of 2020 I was waiting for the day that they would announce the premature end of it. I knew we couldn’t sustain. And I thought that maybe I thought those things because I tried to do my best in the spring of 2019 with that emergency education that few called it and then again when the pandemic swung it’s fists through my classroom and we had to quarantine for two weeks that possibly things would just come to an end because someone who was sitting in government chairs talked to their child and their child relayed how horrible public education had become and because of that conversation that they had, they came to work with a refreshed and realistic understanding about the futility of trying to teach children without the skills of teaching children in a pandemic and that they would cease school for time to allow time and bodies to recalibrate and rethink how things may work if we might have to do this yet again. But, nope. I had to keep teaching. And do all of those other things that come along with it.
I thank too much to go to sleep tonight, and it’s only Monday. I thank about these last two school years, and as much as I tried, I probably will never be able to recognize those children if I saw them out at a grocery store sometime over the next three years. I thanked about the beginning of the end of two school years ago: when one of my students started wearing a mask to school two weeks before I saw Rudy Gobert come down with the Rona two nights before I was planning to book my Spring vacation to Miami. I thanked about calling my boy, Jay, and telling him that, “this Corona shit is getting serious.” And then texted my boy, David, in Miami, “Imma fall back for a few weeks and see what this shit lookin’ like in the summertime.” Recently, I thanked about what I thought about two springs ago. I realized that I’m thankful.
I’m ready for August but not ready for much beyond that. That makes me queasy. The more I try to decompress the more I tighten up. I’m not used to this. I’m used to thinking; about school, and plans, and predictions. But this shit right here is brand new to me. And I feel like the onus is on my, our, shoulders. To figure it out and settle things down. But I’m not built like that. Neither do I have the medical and rationale capacity to side step my job and try to work on figuring it out. So I guess I’ll just go back to work in September. It’s not exactly what I signed up for, but hopefully the queasiness I feel will at some point subside. Still thankful, though.