It's another semester where I am not teaching and I find myself wondering why it is that I miss the classroom so much during these semesters 'off.' Classes start a week from today and I already miss updating the syllabus, making revisions to course plans, and wondering (as I do each semester) how many of the names I'll actually be able to attach to the faces. The specifics don't matter as much, I suppose, as the yearning.
What is it about the learning that I miss? I've pondered this question a fair amount over the last few years. And, in the final analysis (which, of course, we never reach) it seems to be the creativity, the lack of rote, the newness in the sameness. Nothing seems to satisfy as much as the opportunity to re-invent--or to believe that we can.
When my daughter was younger and we had a near-steady diet of child-friendly fare, I realized how many stories deal with beginnings, with cycles, with birth-death-life. Each day, each season, each year allows us to re-new, re-create, re-discover. The resonance of beginnings, of the freshly sharpened pencil, the empty grade book, the chance to get it better, righter, different this time.
Whatever the reason, I miss being part of the preparations. And I am counting the weeks until January.