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  • Writer's pictureBethany Mitchell

Last Day of Summer

"For teachers the month of August is just one long Sunday night." This has been my best summer off in a while. I am back to work tomorrow.

I opened my work email today so it is official. Summer is over.

Teaching is always challenging even under the best of circumstances. Sometimes, I describe it as being a stand up comedian. You are always on, can't have a bad day (or let it show anyways) and students are sympathetic if you are sick for exactly one day. Then they say you should have stayed home. Believe me, I want to. It is just that I don't want to waste a single one of my 10 precious personal days if I can help it. They are much better spent with friends, travel or on a needed mental health day.

Last year was good for me. I had a great schedule and nice students. I was in a healthy place emotionally. It would be an understatement to say that the few years before were bad. I lost my mom to cancer in 2007 when I lived in Maryland. My dad was actually sick first. When I was able to find a job and come back to the Burgh, I moved in with him. He needed some help and it made sense. He battled kidney disease and went to dialysis for many years. Afterwards, he worked at his physical job for as long as he could. Towards the end, all he could do was dialysis and then go back to bed. When we learned that he had prostate cancer, I started having panic attacks.

My job was also excruciatingly stressful. I work in a public charter school and we draw from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Many of these kids have suffered great traumas that most of us can only imagine. People say that the children who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving ways. I compared my work to an abusive relationship.

My dad got sicker and weaker. I cared for him and then he died in 2015. I took two weeks off work and then went right back. That was not a good school year.

I'm not sure how I got on this tangent. This isn't where I thought this post was going but I guess I needed to express it. They say time heals all. I'm not sure that I agree with that but time teaches you to cope, find your new "normal" and move forward. I am grateful that last year was good. It shows that I am healing. I still cry about it. I shed a tear or two writing this. But I am going in the right direction and looking forward to a new year that I can be happy in.

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