The Cyclical Life of an International School Teacher

Backyard camping in Washington State.

Backyard camping in Washington State.

July:  12 hour flight back to the USA.  Margarita in hand on the back deck.  Wooohooo!  School is out!  If I have to see those kids again I will scream! I think that was one of the worst groups I have ever had!  Now, I can do what I want when I want.  It is good to be back in the USA.  Let’s go camping.  Let’s have a barbecue on a school night.  I think I’m going to read that book I have had no time to read.  I like cooking, why don’t I do this more often?  Maybe I’ll update my lesson plans….NOT!  Did I just see that?  A “Back to School” commercial?  Are you kidding me?

August: I went to look at the summer garden section at Target, and its gone.  And what has replaced it?  The BACK TO SCHOOL supplies shop.  Why must the world of consumerism torture us so.  I only have a few weeks left and with each commercial on tv, each Sunday Times insert, I die just a little inside.  What do I need to pack to take back?  How many jars of salsa can I fit into my suitcase?

September:  I love buying back to school supplies!  My bulletin boards are looking great.  After a fighting with the copier for hours I finally have all of my syllabi done and ready to hand out.  I wonder what kinds of kids I will have this year?  Will they be as great as my kids last year?  I think I had one of the best groups of kids ever.

October:  I love my new classes, but I miss the others.  I think I have finally got these new students (and their parents) trained in my expectations.  Open House is this week.  I hate Open House.  The parents are always great, but what if one of them corners me and starts asking about their child’s grade?  We haven’t even had a formal assessment yet.

Stuttgart's Weihnachtsmarkt, one of the largest in Germany.

Stuttgart’s Weihnachtsmarkt, one of the largest in Germany.

November:  Parent Conferences.  See blog post.  When do you think it will snow?  I’m ready for snow and Christmas break.  Is the Weinachtsmarkt open this weekend?  I wish I didn’t have all these projects to grade.  I think I will be at school all weekend grading.  Shit!  I forgot to call home on Thanksgiving!  How was I supposed to know it was Thanksgiving?  Nobody celebrates the colonists’ feast with the injuns ‘round these parts.

December:  Christmas Break cannot come soon enough.  I am so tired.  I just want to sleep in.  I want freedom from planning and grading.  Wait a minute….looks like I will be grading during break, I have to fit in one more assessment for my students before the grading period ends.  But first let the eat-fest of Christmas begin.  Lets see how many holiday parties we can jam into a two-week period.

January:  Grey, bleak, cold. When is Spring coming?  The Job Fairs are this month.  I wonder how many of my colleagues will be leaving.  My students are still amazing.  I am so lucky this year. They are focused on their studies and curious about life.   I love my job!

February:  Grey, bleak, cold…but we get a week off!  Oh, I will be using it to catch up on grading and planning.

March:  Was that the sun just now?  My students are starting to get Spring Fever.  So much coupling, and breaking up.  The girls are so emotional and stressed out.  Must be “the Ides of March.”  Is that snow falling?  What the heck?  It was so nice last weekend.  Wasn’t the timetable for next year supposed to out by now?  I guess I’ll find out my schedule in June, like always.

April:  Spring Break.  I wish I was going off to a sunny locale for a week.  Why won’t these kids focus?  It’s not like it’s the end of the year.  What is their problem?  Why is it still raining?!

The schloss in Salzburg, you can hike or ride your way to the top.

The schloss in Salzburg, you can hike or ride your way to the top.

May:  School Trips and Bank Holidays!  I love May.  Do we have a full workweek at all this month?  Which trip are you going on?  Can’t wait to hike the kids up to the castle in Salzburg.  They will be so mad when they realize we could have taken the funicular.  Those poor 12th graders.  They have a hell of a few weeks ahead of them doing their exams.   I hope I have prepared them enough.

June:  When is it going to be over?  If I have to be here one minute longer I’m gonna lose it!  Let the report writing extravaganza begin.  “Yes Johnny, grades are due on the 17th, but I can change your grade at any time before the 28th.”  Hmm, this poster project will keep them busy for at least 2 weeks.  I’m not grading the poster, but they don’t have to know that. When is the staff barbecue?  The beer better be cold this time.

July:  12 hour flight back to the USA.  Margarita in hand on the back deck.  Woohoo! Schools Out!…

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