That's right. In case you don't follow these things like I do, school is out for summer. And I don't mean my school. We've been out since May; in fact summer sessions have started already. What I'm talking about is school of the youth variety: Hawaii Public Schools are out for summer. I am well aware of this fact for several reasons:
1. The incessant screaming that comes from our neighbors' children now starts at 9am and lasts until 10pm. It used to start at 3pm after they got out of school. I swear it's shrieking and not gleeful laughter. I wonder what their parents do all day. There is obviously someone home with them and that someone is very busy with something that clearly prevents them from telling their kids to KEEP IT DOWN. Something involving noise cancelling headphones, I imagine. Don't get me wrong; I love kids (more on that in a minute). I really do. I just wonder where they get the energy to scream all day.
I at least, have the luxury of leaving the house to go to work. Joe is stuck here all day listening to the "fun" being had on this lovely summer break full of freedom, and gleeful abandon. To hear him tell it, the boy must be a prize-fighter engaged in a never ending bout and his sister is trying to communicate something in Morse code which she can only do by screeching it very loudly to the universe in the hopes that the universe will hear her and screech back. Ah, children.
2. My usually tranquil beach spot, only overrun by others on the weekends, is now covered with people every day of the week. Vacationing families, and local parents who actually want to spend quality time with their kids while enjoying all the thrills that mother nature has to offer have stolen my grass, my shade, and my peace and quiet. Going to the beach (read: grass that overlooks sand and sea) used to be only occasionally interrupted by Japanese weddings, elderly joggers and the odd picnic or two. A person could easily read, listen to a podcast or people watch with little distraction. Time that used to be spent eagerly watching and waiting for the paddle boarders to fall off their boards, or wondering where the guy with the duck on his shoulder found such a tiny lei for it to wear (I can't make this stuff up) is now spent wondering if small children are going to drown themselves in the lagoon because their parents are nowhere in sight and hoping that someone will catch the giggling child running at me full sprint before she can reach my blanket and deposit that shovel full of sand on this stranger's feet.
3. I finally have steady work. That's an odd reason to acknowledge school being out, right? What it means for me is that summer programs are in full swing and summer programs mean summer teaching. I was lucky enough to make the right inquiry at the right time earlier this year, and consequently find myself teaching drama workshops at three different summer programs in Ewa Beach this summer through the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. I just finished my first week which featured all middle school students and I have to say, I am having a blast. Next week I begin with the two elementary schools that I will also be working with, and I can't wait. I've worked with a lot of high school classes this past year, so it feels good to get back to teaching some of the younger grades this summer. For 6 weeks I'll be rotating between these 3 schools, seeing each class for 8 sessions by the time the summer programs conclude.
4. My reading list is a mile long. Even though I'm not taking summer classes, I've requested the reading lists from as many of my fall classes as I can. I'm taking more than a full time course load come fall and I need to get a head start if I'm going to hold down 2 part-time jobs and keep up with that kind of course load. In case you are wondering what kind of reading I've gotten myself into, it looks something like this: for my Asian puppetry seminar, two Indian epics (The Mahabharata and The Ramayana) which are both VERY long and anything I can find on No Child Left Behind and how it affects the Hawaiian school system along with other recent legislature related to education in this country for a class on Theory of Educational Foundations. I'm also reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp as personal inspiration and scouring the internet for everything I can find on teaching theatre through the rehearsal process, both in scholarly journals and on blogs and websites as research for potential thesis topics to be mentioned on some future date. Really light beach reading, right? I will also sheepishly admit that I'm reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. It isn't anywhere as good as Angels and Demons and the writing is clunky, but everyone needs a trashy page-turner and I have fun reading his books. In the interest of full disclosure, I've also read all of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (you know, the books that True Blood is VERY loosely based on?). Also poorly written, but so much fun!
What is on your summer reading list? If you've got good recommendations, leave them in the comments of this post.