Day 10

Checks class lists online. Discovers she’s got that one student who drove last year’s English teacher to (a. an early retirement; b. an early grave; c. a job within the Trump administration).

Day 9

Frantically searches “Help Wanted” ads in hopes of finding a career where she need not bring more than 4,000 pages of student writing home every year. Line cook? Diesel bus mechanic? Phlebotomist? Googles “Phlebotomist.”

Day 8

Brings hardcover copy of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover to beach. Smokes electronic cigarette afterwards.

Day 7

Removes from closet WB Mason box, in which she hastily stacked piles of quizzes, tests, a half-eaten sandwich, and other items on the last day of school, promising to “file them over the summer.” She has 13 such boxes which have never been filed, one for each year of teaching. Starts to thumb through papers, then shoves all but sandwich back in box and returns it to closet.

Day 6

Passes out at local winery while reading Anne Brontë’s The Tenant at Wildfell Hall, after slurring haughtily to fellow patrons that yes, indeed, there was a third Brontë sister, and lamenting that students in 2017 don’t know what a Brontë is; they think it’s shorthand for “Brontosaurus.”

Day 5

Finds folder of materials for first teaching unit of school year. In it are: half of a study guide, quizzes without answers, graded tests she didn’t hand back five years ago, and a beloved writing assignment which she’s had no time to implement since the emphasis on data-driven assessments. Weeps hysterically.

Day 4

Goes on cooking and baking spree. Knows that home-cooked meals won’t be a reality again until June 25. For next nine months, dinner comes in cardboard and plastic boxes.

Day 3

Summer reading? What summer reading? Googles “Sparknotes” to read chapter summaries.

Day 2

Awakes in panic from recurring back-to-school nightmare: that none of her June final exams were graded and she has to read and assess 100 essays before the start of school.

Day 1

Finds coffee mug that student gave her on last day in June: TEACHERS ENCOURAGE AND INSPIRE OUR HOPES AND DREAMS. Also finds pile of sweet “thank you” notes from last year’s students. Teacher smiles, sighs, then smiles again. Chooses her best outfit for the first day, shuts off the lights, and hops into bed.