There are a few phrases guaranteed to get all educators' hearts beating excitedly.
Snow Day! works best here up north.
However, right up there is "Going Out for Lunch!"
For non-educators out there, let me say that educators get less than 30 minutes for lunch. Those 30 minutes could be interrupted by students screaming nearby, parent phone calls, administration questions, a student coming to your room to "take a break", or all of these. Additionally, for your lunchtime ambiance, you can eat at your desk, in the staff lounge, or in the cafeteria with the students.
But it is not the school year. It's summertime and the living is easy and I can go out for lunch. It is a privilege. Going out for lunch now means I can eat leisurely, putting down my food between bites. I can talk as long as I want to with the friends I am dining with. I do not have to discipline any students. I can go to a restaurant, anywhere in the city I want to go. It is a sweet, sweet thing.
In the northern city where I live, summer is definitely the time to go out for lunch. You can sit at a patio, or at a lake, and enjoy the breeze and summer air.
Another of the joys of going out for lunch is to eat something a little different, something I wouldn't make for myself, a shrimp roll, steak salad, fish tacos, or peach cobbler.
I have had the opportunity to go out to lunch at least twice since school ended and each time was a fantastic occasion. Most recently, a friend and I spent more than two hours, eating, drinking lemonade and iced tea, and talking on the back patio of a local cafe. More than two hours! Inconceivable! We talked of books, moving, aging, and much more. I know two hours is longer than most workers get for lunch, but somehow, it seemed like a proper compensation for my many short, short lunches.
So here is my pledge for my leave: I will attempt to go out for lunch, longer than thirty minutes, at least once a week for the next 57 weeks.
If you live near me, drop me a line or give me a call. Let's do lunch!