Dear Summer

Dear Summer,

It is almost time to go back to school and I just wanted to share some thoughts with you. Thank you for two whole months of remembering what it was like to be a kid.  For us here in the south, summer’s kick off begins with the Memorial Day holiday.  Cook-outs and festivals were weekly events on our calendars.  Just because there were not any books or tests does not mean that learning was not occurring.  In your class, I learned that visiting websites such as Atlanta on the Cheap and Groupon are the first places I should check to find out what is going on in and around the city.  It made me look a little closer at my spending habits because during the school year I am not as available to go where I please in the middle of the day.  Your long, sultry days reminded me of the skills learned in kindergarten and first grade and that dressing appropriately for the weather means looking at the daily forecast.  Was it going to be just a hot day, or hot and rainy, or blazing?  Not only did monitoring the weather make me think about my attire, but what I planned to do.  You see, it is not uncommon during summer days for the morning to begin one way and be something completely different by the afternoon.  This meant I had to consider which activities I could get done before noon and which ones could be done later.  Thanks to you I have become more expert in elapsed time because I wasn’t watching television!  I was outside playing.  I was teaching my son to listen for the ice cream truck to pass by.  We were busy building sand castles and learning to swim.  Summer, the world is your classroom.  The constraints of time and place are not the same as they are from September through May.  For some reason, chronos gives way to kairos in your classroom.

Although I will miss your laissez-faire approach to teaching, I must admit that I am looking forward to Autumn.  She won’t be as easy-going as you are.  After all, she begins the season with lists of items that need to be purchased for bookbags and classrooms.  She will make parents take stock of how much their children have grown over the summer and forces us to spend money on things like uniforms and school shoes, not plane tickets and gas for road-trips. She will also order our days so that we must attend to the alarm clock once again as a reminder to start the day. She instructs us to lay out clothes and pack lunches the night before so that we can still be on time, even if we hit the snooze button.  Autumn will resume formal lessons in classrooms, in schools. She brings homework and testing anxiety.  She will make us question ourselves, our children, and each other more harshly than we do during the summer months.  Are we sending our children to the right school?  Do they have enough activities to stimulate them?  The honest answer is, yes.  How do I know? During the summer, I see all of the skills that were learned in Autumn blossom in children as they interact on playgrounds, subways, airports, etc.  Autumn prepares us for Winter’s harsher lessons.  During Winter’s instruction, we feel far removed from the lessons of Summer.  Parents will have to remember to refresh the school supplies and clothes they purchased because Winter demands his own supplies.  Spring will take over Winter’s lessons and her syllabus includes master planning and scheduling.  Spring’s curriculum goals include planning for the future to include Summer traveling and Autumn intense curriculum.

I’ve got a little bit of time left to enjoy your lessons Summer, so I am going to end this letter by telling you that I will be thinking about you while I’m in Autumn’s classes.   I will be missing the lazy days when I am running from work to lessons and trying to get dinner ready!  I will be making plans to ace your lessons once again.  Thank you again for the informal approach to teaching that makes the wait all the more special.  I look forward to my seat in your class once again, the last week of May.