Sometime in May I started to get excited about summer vacation. My non-teacher friends often are jealous that I have ten weeks off each year. Weeks I can spend writing my next novel, visiting exotic places, or sitting by my pool. But they don’t understand that wielding magic has its price.
Most people don’t realize that teachers are more powerful than most wizards. We have spells for Making Students Do Homework and Absolute Quiet in the Classroom. With a glance we can stop note-passing or compulsive pencil-sharpening. Parents drop their children off at the bus stop or in front of school each morning, believing in the power of our magic. After all, they can’t make little Angel do anything at home.
So after all the report cards, cum files, AR parties, and award ceremonies are finished, here I am, my first week at home. I’m flat on my back on the couch, popping cold meds and creating crumpled piles of tissues. My head feels like it will burst, and my throat feels like someone dragged a thorn bush through it. All the plans I had for writing every day have disappeared, as it is too difficult for me to hold a lucid thought.
In every fantasy book I’ve read, the users of magic suffered weakness as a result of their magical arts. In Robert Jordan’s books, they could lose their minds. I know some teachers like that. In other books, the wizard required an extended period of convalescence after saving the world. After victory over the forces of Evil, the wizard’s companions had to deliver their friend to the healing houses. Rarely did the victor walk off the battlefield under his own power.
To my fellow heroes, teachers of children, I offer this condolence. After a week or so you will start feeling like yourself again. You might see one of your former students at the supermarket and smile. A month will pass by, and then you’ll be ready to take out your wand once more.
But always remember, using magic demands a toll.