Oh yeah baby, summer is so close I can smell it! The summer break from university teaching, that is. In the last two days I have graded 120 exams and 240 homework assignments. No, I am NOT finished with my grading. But that was the worst of it. All that remains is the grading for my two upper division courses, which means many long papers to read, but those actually aren't as difficult as what I've just completed. So I'm celebrating tonight with a bottle of bubbly that the hubster brought home tonight.
This means that I am just days away from freedom. Oh sure, I need to keep working on my own writing and research, but that's NOTHING compared to the pressures of the academic year. It is, in fact, what we eggheads live for. The time to pursue our intellectual interests with no other distractions.
This also gives us time to enjoy our families. And the ability to truly do so. When I awoke the morning after giving my last in-class final, I felt the pressure lift from me. I actually felt lighter. And I was able to be patient with my daughter all day long. Even while I was grading exams. It was then that I realized that there is a stress that I feel in the teaching year, a constant push at my back. What is it about teaching? I suppose it is the performativity of it, and the fact that you alone are in charge of your courses, so the pressure is entirely upon you to keep it going and sustain that energy for 15 long weeks.
So I am ready to bask in the freedom of summer. And this summer is going to be sweeter than any other, knowing that in the fall I will begin my first tenure-track position. It's been a long journey to get to this point. I plan to enjoy every moment. (And you know this also means that soon I'll have the time to get back into blog posting/commenting/reading... squee!!!)