What’s Your Sleep Number?

And no, by asking you what your “sleep number” is, I”m not implying that the good people at Sleepys have gotten to me with their hilarious and adorable little sheep, flooding me with cash to pimp their goods. That’s not it at all. I mean, geez, I still haven’t heard from the geniuses at Sharpie and I am 100% ready, willing and able to Pimp. Them. Out. With a capital P. (Call me.) Yet as I wait for that call, Mr. and/or Mrs. Sharpie, please know that my devotion to you and your products remains unwavering. Unwavering.

By using the term “sleep number” in this post I’m actually referring to the number of days you brilliant teachers have until you get a good night’s sleep (a.k.a. the number of school days left between now and the first day of your vacation). It’s a funny thing…we love our jobs and feel lucky to go to a place we find so challenging and full of energy each and every day yet, at any given time, we can tell anyone the exact number of days until our next day off. Is that weird? I never quite understood that whole love-hate thing, but whatever, I guess it just comes to the territory. (Again, this is NOT a place for ANYONE especially NON-TEACHERS to make some sort of douche bag remark about teachers and days off. If you even feel tempted to utter such words, stop reading immediately and meditate on why you are so bitter that you must rip on teachers. What does that say about YOU, hmmmmm?) (Like how I turned the tables there? If that doesn’t work, I shall swear to chase after teacher nay-stayers with a big old stick. Now that I’m not in the classroom and faced with the daily task of working on my dissertation in isolation, I can find the time.) (Yes, that is a threat.)

Maybe it’s something particular about the holiday season that makes us feel the need to cross our days off on the calendar with a big old fat X. (Most likely done with a fantastic new Sharpie…See how I just worked that in there oh-brilliant-leaders-of-Sharpie? Seriously, I’m here and waiting by the phone.) I mean, to me dealing with my friends during the holiday season always felt a bit like keeping the lid on a boiling pot. A boiling pot of crazy that is. You see, the holiday season brings with it many issues that a classroom teacher must deal with that do not include a) making progress in math, b) silent reading time or c) getting anything productive done. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s because the kids have their own mental calendars and are also counting down the days. Hmmmm….my giant ego never let that thought occur to me before. Huh.

Regardless, with the holidays come furtive discussions about the existence of Santa (I come down heavily on the side of letting them believe as long as possible…they were only 7 and 8 years old after all). These discussions can often turn into hot headed debates and, on a bad day, disillusionment-fueled fighting. During which I’m supposed to be teaching geography. Riiiiight.

Also with the holidays come whispered conversations about wish lists, the occasional Toys R Us insert casually shoved into the back of the desk where they thought I wouldn’t see it (I SEE EVERYTHING FRIENDS), and general distraction. Kids are allowed to stay up later for some reason, they are taken on shopping trips with their families that send them into a tizzy for days and are most likely being stuffed with the same holiday treats that are causing me to gain a few myself. All in all, it’s no party in the classroom.

What’s worse, is that many of us work in environments where the drum was always beating – move on, make progress, keep going, don’t stop for anything….

Teachable moment? Forget about it! Move on.
Opportunity for a moment of fun and classroom community bonding? Insanity! Must get to next math lesson…
Ability to let kids be kids every once in a while? Never!

Between the kids being nutty and the Powers That Be forcing us to press onward (like the good little soldiers that we are), the holiday season can feel impossible. Try to take a moment and enjoy yourself and your friends. Just shut the door, turn of the lights and have a math lesson handy in case someone walks in. But that’s just me.

How many days until YOUR vacation again?

(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)
  • 17 more sleeps.

    And don't forget the fun that the holidays bring to those friends who learned at a very young age that Santa doesn't come to the poor… or if he does, he certainly doesn't bring the hottest toy. For many of my friends, the holidays highlight just how much they don't have, which can make life near those who have a lot… difficult at best.

    How's that for a holiday downer?

    December 6, 2009 at 4:20 pm
  • 10 more school days. Just ten. But, I may not be sleeping as much during vacation as I planned if I get the position I interviewed for this past week! It'll still be a huuuuge relaxation time, because I'll be able to be looking towards the future rather than worrying about what's gone on in the past. I will miss my current batch of kiddos, but I need to do this for me and my own sanity.

    And Rach, it is a downer 🙁 I have little ones in the same boat. Some don't WANT to have a vacation–school is much more fun than staying home alone with no one to talk to…

    Mrs. Mimi: I use the last of my tiny paycheck to buy your book! That's the first thing on my vacation to-do list!! 🙂

    December 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm
  • 13 more school days. 4 of those are early release. 🙂

    December 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm
  • Someone needs to come up with some sort of teacher "advent" (of winter break) calendar.

    And to any of those non-teacher, days off naysayers: Days off are part of our compensation package — you don't pay us much, but at least we free time. When people try to begrudge me my days off, I just ask them if they want to trade paychecks. That usually shuts them up. =)

    December 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm
  • 10 more school days. But I have an extra-special reason to count down: we are GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!

    Also, working at a school that uses a semester-block schedule, winter break is a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on what went well, why it did, what I'd improve and why… time that I don't often get when I'm "in the grind."

    December 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm
  • Don't forget about the Debbie Downer in the class that (quote) "doesn't DO Santa." In preschool. Shame. We had a nice discussion about keeping our opinions to ourselves and not spoiling it for everyone else. Again, in preschool. Sigh.

    9 more days with kids, but 10 is the official sleep number.

    Oh, and I've already received my first Christmas mug this year. Perhaps I should send out the wish list posted on your page? 😉

    December 6, 2009 at 10:16 pm
  • How about doing Chrissie Crafts in November. Many private schools in Australia finish for summer holidays at the End of Novemeber. While teacher Grade 3 it felt very strange making stocking, and decorating trees. Well maybe not too strange. The department stores were also decorated!

    Ainslie Hunter
    aka Study Skills Mentor

    December 7, 2009 at 12:10 pm
  • 11 more sleeps for me! Woo hoo!!!

    December 7, 2009 at 12:10 pm
  • 12.5 school days for me!

    When my fifth graders start debating the existence of Santa, I wait a few minutes and then tell them I still get a present from Santa every year – and it's NOT my mom's handwriting. (It totally is, but only because she stopped trying to disguise it.) A few don't believe me, but I'm adamant, and they stop arguing. 😉

    Happy Holidays!

    December 7, 2009 at 12:10 pm
  • We have 9.5 more days until the kids leave, then the rest of that Thursday in meetings, then 1/2 of that last Friday morning in our rooms/meetings/and special school lunches(we get the last half of the day Friday to go home early because everyone went to a class over the summer). I am also the music teacher so two school Christmas concerts to deal with too.
    I bought your book on Thursday-enjoying it so much!

    December 7, 2009 at 12:10 pm
  • I liked this post and chose to include it in this week's EduCarnival. If you would like to have it removed, please email me at uncomfortableadventures (at) yahoo (dot) com to let me know, and I will delete the link.

    You can submit an article to the next issue of EduCarnival v2 by using the handy-dandy carnival submission form. Past carnivals and future scheduled editions can be found on the blog carnival index page.

    I love getting to read posts from people I'm not familiar with, so it'd be awesome if you'd put up a quick note encouraging your readers to submit as well!

    December 9, 2009 at 10:42 pm
  • 5 days. I'm hoping my kindergartners spare my sanity and don't offer up any Santa themed ties or suspenders as gifts (what DO you buy a male kindergartner teacher?).


    December 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm
  • Including today, I have six more sleeps until I can get a wonderful, deep sleep without dreaming about power points and tests.

    December 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

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