And so it goes, as Kurt would say. It's The Letter, our annual back-to-school informational missive and it signifies:
1) I am employed!! God be praised! So many would appreciate such a letter--it means a contract, it means mama can pay the bills, it means health coverage.
2) The unofficial end of summer. Usually this letter kick starts my banana-slug mind, buried deep under layers of beach sand, frappuccinos, and sunscreen. Usually I sharpen the pencils and rummage for my thinking cap. I start fantasizing about the Perfect Year and reread Harry Wong's invaluable The First Days of School for the 16th time. (I wish I'd had that book when I began teaching, or it'd be the 21st time. It's just that calming, inspiring, methodical, remindering, planful, friendly, realistic, no nonsense-y, etc.).
But this year, I have been to the beach one and a half times. It has been COLD, and I don't just mean the water. My mind hasn't really had the opportunity to hibernate because I was busy for a month fighting the Paper Monster (see older post). We have been treated to a literal unending stream of visitors from New Hampshire, Bakersfield, Corona, Arizona, Florida, and Virginia, and this week I will be with high school pals up in the prettiest city in the U.S. of A.
I am finishing Ron Berger's An Ethic of Excellence (both ethical and excellent, you'll be glad to know), and his ideas about authentic, beautiful work and creating a culture of critique are making my head explode. Last month, Rafe Esquith lit my hair on fire. My poor torso is lost.
I am not ready for The Letter!!!!!!