That sums it up. Six hours of a seven period school day I'm nose-to-the-grindstone and during the last hour of the day, my prep period, my brain and body are so fried I sort of sit and stare into space a bit before prodding myself back into productivity. And then there's that eighth period, the study/ lunch period when every other teacher in the building is supervising a study hall and then eating. I have an assigned group for reading intervention, so I'm even teaching then. For the record, I'm not a trained reading interventionist so I don't know what the heck I'm supposed to do, nor am I compensated much for the difference in job assignment, but my ten students and I are plugging away, reading copies of True Grit I gleaned at the Half-Price book store, pausing to work out context clues for difficult words along the way and discussing how plot and point of view go together. I'm working over-overtime.
How is it going?
I like the kids. They really are great. Even the knuckleheads are basically good people and I enjoy some qualities in every one of them. Most of them try hard and seem willing, so no complaints there.
I feel like I'm doing what I'm called to do--helping kids learn how to write better and read well. The AP Language & Composition class is sort of like Fantasy Land for me, we've just finished a documentary (King Leopold's Ghost) and The Heart of Darkness and are beginning to work through the trio of ethos, pathos and logos before they write their first synthesis essay in another week (after adding Apocalypse Now to the stack 'o stuff to synthesize).
I have a short drive to work, the building administration and co-workers are lovely, I purchased some wick sticks and essential oil from Indigo Wild to combat the sweaty feet smell in my classroom. These are all good things.
My family has been helpful (when I beg or scream) in pitching in. But I'm wiped out after the second shift (you know, the one where you feed and tend to home, hearth and family members) ends and I lie in bed wasted from the effort. I knew getting the extras done would be tricky, and unlike most teachers, I didn't have time to plan or arrange for real life during the school year or I would have had doctor's appointments scheduled and gifts purchased and other miscellaneous details sorted out before September 2nd. It's tempting to phone in a sick day just to catch up with the home workload before the next quarter starts.
I never go outside, except to watch a kid participate in a sporting event.
I never read, except for what my students write or read.
We haven't carved pumpkins or baked cinnamon-laced apple pies this fall, the laundry pile sits unfolded and I've quit making lists.
Can you believe that last part? I've been a dedicated list-maker since high school. Write shit down, get it done, cross it off. It's how I roll. But now I'm too busy to write a list most weeks. It's like I live in triage-mode--stitching up the gaping wounds of life as they appear in front of me. I'm hoping that I will catch my breath next weekend, step back, gain perspective, clean off my desk, pay visits to a few loved ones and prepare a proper meal. Make a list and get some focus back, that's my plan.
I'm here, hanging on by a thread, keeping up with the grading and staying one step ahead with the lesson planning. We have food in our fridge, gas in the Momvan and faith that things will level out soon. They will, right?
Spill it, reader. How goes it with you?