Classes are over, which means I've entered the pyjama phase of the semester, characterized by towering stacks of essays and test booklets, red-ink-stained fingers, neck cramps, and frequent disbelieving glances at the calendar (December 14th? Really?!?). The silver lining is that, as the name implies, the pyjama phase is also characterized by not having to leave the house at all, which manifests itself as not getting dressed until about five minutes before the kids get home from school.
The pyjama phase is also, I think, the part of my job that is overlooked when people (not you, obviously) make statements to the effect that teachers are spoiled, what with the great hours and ultra-long vacations. Yes, it's true that I'm not teaching now - but does that mean I can now relax, play in the snow with my kids, get all the holiday baking done, and finish my Christmas shopping? Ha.
Before I can get to any of that, I have to correct:
~ approximately 100 final essays
~ 25 grammar tests
~ 150 journal entries
~ 100 self-evaluations
~ 10 web pages
~ several rewritten essays from earlier in the semester
~ other stuff I have no doubt conveniently forgotten
Oh, and I have to write two final project papers for the MEd course I'm taking. Also, I have an interview with a committee that wants to put together an on-line genre course.
In May, when we get to the pyjama phase of the winter semester, things are pretty relaxed despite the mountains of corrections, because at least that's all there is. In December, however, there's the whole holiday thing. I have no decorations up. No presents bought. No cookies baked. What I do have is somewhere to be just about every night - last night and the night before it was Robert's Nutcracker performance, tonight it's Aurora's Cheeseball, tomorrow it's Susana's Swedish sing-a-long, Sunday it's the Montreal Welsh Male Choir, for which I'm taking photos, etc., etc. I think the only night we're not going somewhere is next Friday, when Terence, Irene, Dave and Kate are coming here. Aurora's right - teachers need an extension for all the Christmas stuff.
Having said all that, let me say this, too: I love it. I love that I had a full teaching load this semester, with very few dropouts, which is why the piles are so towering; I love that the piles will take time because so many of my students asked for my feedback; I love that the MEd courses provide such opportunity for exploration and learning; I love that we are so active and have so many friends that we have invitations to juggle.
And the pyjamas. I love that, too.