Monday, January 25, 2010

Not sure what to blog about

My life is not at all blog worthy these days. In fact, I can up everyday in one paragraph:

Get out of bed at 6. Shower, grab lunch, leave house between 6:30 and 7, depending on the day. First period prep, then teach periods 2 and 3. Fourth period, eat lunch. Teach periods 5 and 6. Grab a quick protein filled snack in the 4 minutes between 6th and 7th periods. Teach periods 7 and 8. Another quick snack. Teach two hours of after school classes. Finally leave school between 5 and 6, depending on the day. Get home, make dinner. Eat dinner. Collapse on couch. Move to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I told you, so not blogworthy. My kids aren't even having great conversations that I can share for your entertainment (remember That's What She Said?). I'll come up with something good soon, I'm sure, but for now just read this post once a day and you'll know what I'm doing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On things domestic

I am not a domestic goddess. Far from it, actually. But now and again the urge strikes, and I go on these weird cleaning sprees. Not the normal cleaning urges people get, like sweeping or mopping or washing the windows. No, I decide to clean out closets or pantries or wash all the shelves in the fridge.

So what was I doing at midnight? Why, cleaning out the pantry, of course! Isn't that what everyone does at midnigt? I facebooked about it, and it appears it's a theatre freak thing. I still want to know if the late night hours are a requirement to become a theatre geek, or if the are caused by being one. We know there's causation; otherwise, why would a fellow theatre major and I have this exact same conversation in the wee hours of the morning. What I can't prove yet is which caused which. Or perhaps it's merely a correlation and the cause/effect lies in some other oddball quirk of mine.

Either way, I'm prone to doing odd things late at night/early in the morning. Like rearranging furniture, cleaning the bathrooms, and of course cleaning out the pantry. No matter, though, the pantry looks most beauteous today and I can find everything I'm looking for.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What a great day!

I ended up sleeping most of the day (got up at 3pm!), recuperating from a good but draining week at school. Ricky was very understanding - he's been incredible this year, understanding the stress and frustration and exhaustion caused by our numbers situation - and didn't say a word about my long, long sleep.

Once I finally got up, we hung around the house for a bit until Ricky said, "let's go see the boys!" We headed over to his parents' house to see the two nephews and hung out with them, playing with the boys and chatting with his sister, for a couple of hours.

When we left we were both getting hungry and I could tell I was starting to get cranky so I told him we needed to get some food. I had no idea what I was in the mood for, but Ricky was in the mood for Rose's. Sadly, there isn't one in our neighborhood and he didn't want to drive that far but, as he put it, he could feel my puppy dog eyes coming from my mind and decided to go anyway. Rose's has awesome reubens, so we each had a reuben (turkey for me, pastrami for Ricky) and a cup of coffee, then shared a piece of Red Velvet cake (mostly for the cream cheese frosting!). We had a great night of chatting and just enjoying being together.

On the way home we stopped and picked up a movie (Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - not bad!). Afterward we sat and talked, reminiscing about our nearly 10 years together. My how time flies!

Overall it was a really excellent day, made even better by the fact that I still have two days of my weekend remaining. Yay for 3 day weekends!

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Just be thankful you have a job"

I know I've been MIA. I have come to the blog, even signed in and opened a new post, but nothing would come out.

It's not that there's nothing to say. Quite to the contrary, actually. I think I'm so overwhelmed with the things in my life right now that I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. I'm also having a hard time wanting to think about it long enough to type it out. All I want is some quality me time to relax and destress.

After losing my job and then getting it back, I never feel like I can complain about my job. As a teacher, I always feel like I have to preface a complaint with "I love my job, but..." Why is it that people automatically assume a vent or a complaint would only come if you hated your job or weren't grateful for the fact that you have one in the first place? I actually had a parent yell that at me this year - "You should just be thankful you have a job!" I told her that I am, and that I give thanks everyday, but that doesn't change the facts.

And the facts are
  • I haven't left school before 4 oclock in ages. Even today, when I planned on leaving right at 3, the end of our contract hours, I was stuck. An incident during 7th period required that I write a referral, and the first chance I had was after school.
  • I have been forced to get to school early in an attempt to get a crack at the copy machine. It doesn't always work.
  • I work through my lunch most days. Rarely do I have the luxury of being able to sit back and read a book or do something for me and relax during my lunch. Instead, I generally eat while I stand at the copy machine or try not to slop spaghetti sauce on the papers I'm grading.
  • My smallest class right now is 33. My largest is 42. Overall, I teach 232 students, approximately 25% of our student population. Unbelievably, this is a slight decrease from the beginning of the year.
  • Think 232 students is no big deal? Try this on for size - it took me 3 hours to grade a 10 point quiz.
  • My average class size is 38.67 students (and no, I have not yet met that 2/3 kid!).
  • Because of class sizes, I can give each student approximately 1.18 minutes of personalized attention each class period.

Those are the facts. I do love my job, truly. I love the students I work with, I love the relationships I've built with so many of my kids. I love that, while they may hate my class, we can still have a positive relationship as people, and that I can influence their lives in even the smallest of ways. I love that my students feel comfortable confiding in me, asking for my advice, and that they know I care about them and only want the best for them.

That said, I wish there were fewer of them. They need so much, and I can only give to a certain extent before I'm worn out. When I taught 130, it was ok. I gave, but it wasn't detrimental. Now I feel as though my job is sapping my strength. Changing the way I do my job is not an option. When I do so, I feel fake and phony. I don't like the teacher I become when I try to become business as usual. I have always been a Gestalt teacher, worried with the whole of the person rather than the one subject I teach. I couldn't care less if my students like theatre, as long as they learned to be decent human beings, responsible citizens of the world. But I am finding that trying to be that for 232 is so taxing.

I find myself with a choice - stay true to what I believe of education, delivering what my students need and feeling fulfilled yet broken, or become an educator who simply teaches the subject and then goes home and lives her life, filling a job but unable to escape the nagging feeling that I should be, could be, doing more.

Honestly, there is no choice. I was not called into this profession to make money and have summers off and be carefree. I was called to help my students, to guide them and shape them, to make a difference in the future of our world. And so, I will continue to stress and worry, and I will continue to work toward making our school system better, not so that my so-called cushy job becomes cushier, but so that my students can have the best chance possible.