I try to write on the blog here about every three to four days.  But because I’ve been putting in so many long days out at the school, it’s been eight days since my last post.  It’s supremely nice to have a Monday morning when I could sleep in a bit, play around on the computer, and watch my new 60″ television.  I think I speak for everyone at RTHS when I say that we needed a day off.

Alone at last.

A former colleague of mine once said, “School is so much easier when the kids aren’t here.”  She didn’t necessarily mean that the kids were obnoxious or a burden; she was very correctly pointing out that teacher workdays and holidays, in addition to being a chance to recharge the batteries and get some things done around the house, are days when you can finally get caught up on all the stuff you couldn’t get around to because you were busy teaching classes.  They’re a mechanism for decompressing.

Of course, today is a holiday, not a workday.  But I’ll go in for a couple of hours this afternoon to get some grading done and set up my room for tomorrow.  At a Labor Day cookout last night thrown by a colleague most people said they had something work-related to do on the day off.  Some people will go into school like me (it helps that I’m only a 9-minute drive away), and some will do some planning and grading from home.  But being able to do it while on your own couch, watching Labor Day baseball matinees or drinking the last of the summer ales in the refrigerator, is a nice feeling.

Back at it tomorrow.


The first Labor Day parade in New York City in 1882.

The U.S. History teacher in me wants to remind all of you of the reason for Labor Day’s existence.  While you’re at your cookouts today, remember the marginalized workers of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who decided to finally do something about the wretched conditions, back-breaking work, and meager pay they faced.  Not only did they help build America into a modern industrial titan, they fought tooth-and-nail to be treated with a basic human decency lacking in the dangerous factories of the era.  The eight-hour workday, workplace safety regulations, the end of child labor, and many more benefits you enjoy today are around today because of the sacrifices and perseverance of those brave men and women.