There comes a time in every year off when a person starts thinking about the things that were good about the job she left–and starts to miss them.  Apparently, for me that day is November 3rd.  Well, no, that’s not entirely true–I’ve been missing things since the first day of summer vacation.  I’ve just been so busy looking forward that I’ve failed to look back.  But truth be told, there are many things that I really miss about my job.  Here’s top five, in typical countdown order…

5.  Get ready for this one–I miss the kids.  I realize that sounds insane–after all, I taught 8th grade.  Most people feel that’s like a fate worse than death.  But I like (most) 8th graders.  As individuals.  Do I long to return to a class full of 35 of them and attempt to teach them about prepositions?  No.  But being around all of that youthful energy keeps a person young (and very often makes you laugh!)  Plus–and this is a very real concern–how will I ever know if I’m in style?  I don’t read fashion magazines–but middle school kids do.  I’m afraid I’m going to end up an 80 year old woman wearing Uggs and leggings the way my nana wears ‘pedal pushers’ and ‘blouses’ (I’m wearing them right now and I’m pretty sure they went out last season!)

4.  I miss junk food.  While it is probably a good thing (for my waistline) that I don’t have a daily meeting at which eating chocolate is almost required, I do miss it–a lot.  Three weeks ago I randomly baked a cake (the day after my husband’s birthday–ooops!) because I was just dying for some sort of baked good.  Halfway through mixing up my boxed mix Funfetti cake I realized why–by that point in the school year, surely several people would have had birthdays–and thus, birthday cakes (or, even better, cupcakes!) Even if there’s no reason to celebrate, cupcakes often showed up in the faculty room for one reason or another.  By October 10th, I was in sugar withdrawal.

3.  I miss having a reason to get dressed up.  Yes, it is true that my school was more…ahem…casual than many others but still, one dresses a certain way to teach a class…and a totally other way to sit in her house and type.  I’ve not been reduced to day-long bathrobe sessions…yet.  But I can see how it could happen.

2.  I miss having a reason to leave the house.  You should know that this is being typed from a table at Barnes and Noble.  Yes, I have internet access at home.  And yes, it does technically cost me money to be here (because I insist on buying a cup of tea to justify my presence at a commercial establishment.)  But I figured out weeks ago that I’m much more productive when I drive somewhere to work than when I’m sitting at home.  Plus, here, there are no dogs barking, no dust bunnies begging to be swiffered–and my dying laptop battery encourages me to actually work (and not just fart around on Facebook.  Though writing this doesn’t technically count as work–ooops!)

1.  Of course, the number one thing that I miss isn’t one thing–it’s many things.  Or, rather, many people.  I miss my coworkers!  I miss talking through the half-open walls to my pod-mates during my prep period.  I miss being interrupted by other grade level teachers in the middle of a class.  I miss Friday diner breakfasts and trivia at lunch and–possibly most of all–I miss happy hour!  Being given the chance to work on my book and travel is a wonderful thing–but one of the things I gave up to get that is the end-of-the week celebration (or, rather, the idea of  ‘the end of the week’, as I work almost every day.)  I would love to sit around a bar or a table (or many tables pushed together) and talk to my old coworker friends.  I’d probably not have much to say–seeing as I’m now totally out of that loop–but I think I’d honestly just be happy to sit there and listen to the sound of other voices!

And so, as I sit here at the bookstore–not in my bathrobe–I’m thinking about 5th period lunch that’s going on right now.  I’m hoping that everyone there is having a good day and that this year’s batch of kids is an enjoyable one.  I hope that the underdog trivia team is ahead in points.  I hope that there’s a half eaten sheet cake in the middle of the table, both microwaves are working, and the kids are still outside.  And I hope that everyone is really looking forward to the weekend.  After all, tomorrow is already Friday!