We all remember the glorious feeling of the official start of summer — when school ended for another year. After Joanna and I had been married for 20 years, we went back to school, taking classes with students much younger than we were, and got to again experience the rhythm of a school year.
We both ended up with graduate degrees, and I became a teacher. “School’s out for summer” then took on new meaning. So did “teachers’ dirty looks,” for that matter.
Those involved with academia know that our work doesn’t end just because the school year does, but the pace changes during the summer months. That is especially true because I promised myself when I finished graduate school that I would never again teach summer school, devoting that time instead to research, rest, and getting reacquainted with my loved ones. An occasional research sabbatical gives further opportunity for the kind of reflection that most Americans don’t get.
One line from “School’s Out,” the Alice Cooper rock classic, goes “School’s been blown to pieces.” That might be more troubling today than in 1972 (though the worst American school massacre actually came via a bombing in 1927, thanks to a lunatic anti-tax forerunner of more recent anti-government loons).
Suggestions of violence aside, however, we teachers (and our spouses) still typically get the same thrill with the “official start of summer” that our students do; hence this song.