I had a countdown calendar on my laptop desktop; it was set to the end of the semester. More accurately it was set to the last minute of my last class. When students noticed it as I frequently use my computer to project their tasks, magazines, blogs, and websites on the wall, I did not comment on the reason for having the calendar there. I did acknowledged its existence, but since they never asked other questions, I did not offer addition responses.
The calendar on my school laptop, a computer I bought myself to use for school, was as a visual reminder for them. It meant to say the semester is ending, time is running out to pad your grade with participation points by speaking out, write the best essay since it is your last one, spend extra time with the final creative writing a short story, or add something spectacular to the blog for the blogging class which would truly impress me and others.
They didn’t seem to get that subliminal message. What they did not know is that I had the same counter on my home computer’s desktop. This was for me and only for me. It reminded me that there is relief to this burnout I was feeling. As the minutes ticked away, I knew the pages of editing I would have to do were decreasing. I know that there were hours, minutes, and seconds of passing by that I no longer had to try to make students understand that I only want what is best for them that my being a taskmaster is for their good, not for my own jollies.
When the time finally arrived to say good-bye, when the countdown clock alarm sounded, I reminded them that the only time I would see them in the future is when they sign up for their internship, but contact would be minimal. Some rushed out the door as the words were fading from the air after I spoke them. Others stayed to present me with a lovely tin of 72 teabags, consisting of smaller packages of eight in different flavors. I love tea, so this is a perfect gift for me.
As I gushed with appreciation and enthusiasm, I mentioned that if any of them want to practice their English over the summer, I am more than willing to meet up for a coffee. I added that I knew some fabulous coffee shops.
It was later that I realized what I had said. Here I was, getting mushy over getting the tea, but then suggesting we meet for a coffee. Just according to the old instruction manual – Open mouth, insert foot! Then I thought about it realistically. Quite honestly, I do love tea, but I love drinking it at home. When I am out, I never order tea, I order coffee variations. There is something about the coffee at home, regardless of the brand we buy; I am never satiated by the flavor. Tea never lets me down when home brewed. Hence, to get my coffee fix, I need an outside expert to prepare it for me.
At least now, I have 72 reasons to stay home and enjoy a cup of tea and remember the students who thought enough to give me the gift while I renew my batteries.