Thursday, October 23, 2014


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?


  1. I am overwhelmed with stuff. Actual stuff. I finally got around to having one room recarpeted and the rest of the carpets cleaned, so I had to pull everything out of one room, and pile stuff up in the rest. And then, wouldntcha know it, I got a call to take another load away from my father's house. And from my MILs house too. Stuff. I have too much stuff. I'm such a pack rat, I never thought I would say this but I've reached my limit. I'm having a garage sale this weekend. I just sold a number of things via a facebook group and that made me very happy.

  2. So, how are the boys dealing with this new normal? :-) I'll bet it's a bit of an adjustment.

    I am on the opposite swing. Life was much busier when Emma was younger and Rob was teaching evenings. Now, she's more independent, and for the first time in our marriage Rob is not teaching evenings, so I don't have to do the single-parent thing this semester. I feel like I have so much more time, and life is so peaceful. I can either swim or walk every day after teaching, and I don't have to worry about picking someone up at a certain time. It's really relaxing :-)

  3. I would like to pitch a fit on your behalf with whoever gave you that teaching schedule and assigned you a class without preparation for it. That kind of stuff makes me mad. But I'll stay out of it for now. I'm sorry you're feeling clobbered.

    Around here I've had a sick kid (but she's getting better now) and plenty of church meetings (but good ones with good people), and mounds and mounds and mounds of dead leaves in the yard. But that's good, too, because it means I am surrounded by trees.

  4. So MUCH on your plate, I am not surprised you would be tired! I taught school a number of years and respect what you are doing indeed. But whoa, mom to a large family too, wow!

  5. I like your honest assessment of how freaking hard it is to juggle family life with a full time job--even when your kids are old enough to handle their own basic needs. There's this fake impression that it can be managed, is even easy, but it's not.

  6. Clobbered. That's a perfect word. Oh I pray you get to relax and do those things you want to do this weekend.
    I've been clobbered, too, but not with a teaching job. Just too many things popping up that require other things to be moved around or dealt with or arranged.

  7. I hear you. I've been swamped too.

    I hated Heart of Darkness. Read it my senior year. Blech. ;-)

    I hope things settle down for you soon!

  8. Sounds like a whirlwind, but that you enjoy the most important parts. All the other "stuff" will get done or not - no big deal either way. Enjoy your weekend :-)

  9. The juggling act is hard. I'm ready for people to stop dropping strange fruits off for me to can, which I know is totally a first world problem.

  10. I was never so exhausted as when I worked full time with two kids in elementary school.

    Last year my daughter had a caseload of 47 Exceptional Ed students and no aide, no lunch break, no planning period. She would eat while walking between classrooms. At 25 years old she was in bed by 8pm every night. Nobody can tell me that good teachers don't earn every single cent of their paycheck.

    We're enjoying sunny 76 degree Florida days, festivals of some kind every weekend, getting used to hubby's new job/work schedule.

    Hang in there!

  11. Too much. That simple. I guess there is no way to cut back on the school schedule? I hear Christmas is just around the corner. sorry

    I thought the film Apocalyse Now was based on the book Heart of Darkness. Or are you maybe comparing the book and the screenplay? One of my favorite movies, next to Crime and Punishment. jk
    The best thing about retirement is not having to fight the good fight any longer, but I remember the stress of work and can only imagine what it's like working with kids. Hang in there!

  12. I think you need a mental health day and soon. I'm not kidding. I also don't think that taking one would be unreasonable or out of line.

    It also sounds like you are getting dumped with most of the household stuff that could/should be split 50/50 with the other resident adult in your house. Barring that, pay to outsource as much as you can.

  13. I'm overwhelmed just reading this post. I really don't know how you do it. You are amazing. Are there any school days off coming up? I certainly hope so. Otherwise I'm sure the countdown to Christmas break has already begun for you.
    Hang in there, and know that you are my hero!

  14. I totally see this. I really don't get people who say being a SAHM is hard--I think it's easier than juggling (fulfillment may be different). My sense is that you will get a rhythm and standards will be lowered. I am sure the future wives of your boys will be glad they learned to pitch in. I wish I had you as a teacher in an AP Writing class. What a gift!

  15. Sometimes life is crazy...well, really, all the time ;D But as we get older, we learn how to deal with it better. All you need is to get old.. ;D

  16. Oh honey, clobbered is the perfect word from a brilliant writer, so no surprise. I think what Jen said is right on the money! A mental health day or two, here and there, is calling your name. Breathe deep. Hang in there. I feel ya, I really do.

  17. I'm so there! The year I had a prep at the end of the day on Fridays, I was often too fried to plan. I used the time to clear my desk: really clear the piles in a productive manner. That way, I could come in on Monday and sit down to a relatively clean slate.

    My life is its usual craziness, including functioning as the middle of the sandwich generation. Meanwhile, election day looms.

  18. I'm with Jen on the Edge. Take a mental health day. Perhaps I will too.

  19. Definitely take a mental health day every now and then, if only to race around frantically and deal with the details of life that are being ignored. Ah, laundry, sweeping the floor, having a mammogram, etc. You know it's real life when doing those things is a welcome vacation.

  20. I'm reading this after your weekend of blessings (some in strange form, but still blessings) and it makes me especially glad that you had a break. I think you will need another break soon as the seasons change from fall to winter, along with changes in sports and holidays.
    Riding the boys harder to get things accomplished is no fun but might be worth considering. (Perhaps their dad could take on the work of backing you up in making sure they do their new chores?)

    I work at my church, so it's common for people to ask me to do work things before and after worship... and sometimes DURING the service. Ugh. I'm taking a few Sundays off for other reasons but the benefit is not having people asking me to work on Sunday.


Spill it, reader.