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Eric Baylin's
Songs to Brighten
A Teacher's Day


Somewhere in mid-July it feels as though I have settled comfortably into summer -- far from the frenetic pace of the school year; from the daily classroom regimen of taking attendance, writing lesson plans, grading papers, filing reports, attending faculty meetings... and more and more and more. In the best of summers, the pressure of those daily teacher duties fades away for a time, allowing me necessary "downtime" -- time for renewal, to re-charge the batteries, so to speak. And then August hits. The horizon of the opening day of school comes into view and approaches with resolute steadiness. And, as much as I want to hold on to summer mode, my mind and body start to shift into "responsible teacher" mode. Already, summer draws to a close.

Coming Back Is Never Easy

(Sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic)

Understand that I love teaching. I wouldn't choose any other field. But I also LOVE summer. And coming back to school -- into this field of great promise and opportunity -- has just never been easy. I can't lie about that -- but I can sing about it!

About the Lyricist

Eric Baylin has been a teacher for 38 years, working with a variety of age levels in both public and private schools in New York and North Carolina. He currently works at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York, a K-12 independent school established in 1854. In addition to teaching art and photography to middle- and high-school students, Eric coordinates a program of collaborative faculty study groups in Packer's professional development program.

We've been trav'ling; we've been gard'ning; we've been sitting on the beach.
We've been eating corn and cobbler -- cherry, blackberry, and peach.
We've been sleeping late and hiking off to places hard to reach.
We've been reading trashy novels and forgetting that we teach.

Coming back is never easy.
Summer days are light and breezy.
Oh, I feel a little queasy.
It's time to go to school.

Can't believe the summer's ending; I have so much more to do.
All those things I was intending -- and I've only done a few.
Been avoiding; been pretending that I didn't have a clue
That I have to be attending school in just a day or two.

Tell me that it isn't over.
I'm still rolling in the clover.
Can't believe the summer's over.
It went by much too fast.

Didn't think about my classes; didn't think about the school.
Didn't think about my students -- that might seem a little cruel.
Didn't think about curriculum while lying by the pool.
Didn't think about developing a great assessment tool.

I am never really ready,
Even though I'm pretty steady.
Trying not to seem too petty,
But I'd like a few more weeks.

In the summer I relax and always cut myself some slack,
And when school begins, I have a little trouble coming back,
'Cause the pace is so frenetic and my schedule's out of whack.
So it might be mid-November when I finally get on track.

Teaching's such a great profession.
But I have a small confession.
Not to give the wrong impression,
But I hate when summer ends.

In the old days we would wait to come back after Labor Day.
Now we're working so much harder; there is much less time to play.
Where did August go? It started slow, but then it slipped away.
Do you know how many weeks before the next big holiday?

Coming back is never easy.
Summer days are light and breezy.
Oh, I feel a little queasy.
It's time to go to school.

Song lyrics Copyright© 2006 Eric Baylin