Thursday, December 30, 2010


I feel like I am saying this all the time in person, so I suppose it's natural to say it often on here too. Can't believe how fast the year is going by. It's almost 2011 and I'm in the middle of a blissful break. Blissful when I'm not having weird dreams about school or fielding emails about kids' grades or phone calls (only one) from a kid about how to finish an incomplete project.

School has so consumed me that it's hard to know what to do with myself on break. There are projects around the house to tackle but I lack the energy to choose one and get started. There are friends I haven't talked to in months but it's so hard to talk to non-school people about school that I put off calling them.

I've been seeking projects that make me feel like a whole person again, rather than just a workaholic teacher. Exercise is on the agenda - I've gotten woefully out of shape this fall/winter - and my wonderful husband is embarking on a jogging program which I am joining. Also I will someday actually get around to going to a yoga class, maybe starting this break. And I just signed up for a neat creative project with a May 1 deadline that I will have to force myself to find time to do. And I just finished blocking a knitted baby blanket for my new niece or nephew due net month, and I'm starting a hat to replace my beloved hat that I lost on the subway a few weeks ago.

As far as school stuff, I intend to start doing some work tomorrow. Grading first, then high-level planning for the rest of 2nd term, then detailed plans for procedural changes (yuck) at the start of the new year to hopefully make things go more smoothly, then lesson plans for next week. Hope I get through it all.

I started writing this intending to write about what I am resolving for the new year, both in personal and professional terms, but I've been rambling instead. I feel like I make mini-resolutions for myself all year long, practically every day, thinking of things I want to change about myself or my life, so it's kind of an artificial construct to take my issues of the moment and declare them to be resolved for the entire year. Regardless, here are my two high-level resolutions for 2011:
  1. Take better care of myself (make time for non-school interests, especially SLEEP!)
  2. Figure out how to make my class better and then do it. I have some general ideas about what I would like to change but no brilliant ideas (yet) for how to implement. 4 more days until school starts back up to figure it out for this go-around, and 6 more months to keep incrementally figuring it out before the year is up. And something like 30 more years to keep refining it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bare Survival

Wow, can't believe the year is 3/8 over already - second quarter warning notices were due on Friday, which I think means second quarter is half over, though I'm too lazy to actually do the math to see if that's true - and I also can't believe I was so naive as to think I'd write on this blog once a week or so. While it is true I have been ultra-busy, it is also true that I have been too overwhelmed and uncertain to write anything even when I do have time.

I don't really want to try to summarize the year to date, but I will say that things are both better and worse than I expected. Some activities go well, some kids in some classes seem to be learning something, some kids like me and like science. Definitely not all. Maybe 20%.

I am exhausted all the time. I am unable to force myself to plan more than a day in advance, which means I'm often making worksheets at 11 PM. I'm getting somewhere between 4 and 6 hours of sleep most nights. Not enough. The stress and lack of sleep is really taking a toll. My husband is a saint for putting up with me. And cooking dinner. And keeping track of things like whether or not we have heating oil left.

I have a giant pile of projects to grade this weekend. I hate grading subjective work. And I know I don't put nearly enough comments on the work I grade but it's just hard to find the time and energy to do it for all my students. And after I grade the projects I need to make phone calls to parents of kids who are failing. I hate calling parents most of all.

Only 4 school days left before Christmas break, though. And we're doing a fun project in class all week, building Rube Goldberg machines. Which might be a disaster but also might be fun. Actually it probably will be both, alternately, or perhaps even at the same time.