Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Snow Day

Don't worry, I still want to be an English teacher because things like this make my inner nerd happy. Unfortunately, I found this on a website with no source/link- if anyone knows where to credit this image, please tell me!

Last weekend, I did about 15 hours of homework and 5 hours of grading. I had a bit of a surprise when I logged into my classes on Monday, Oct 17th and saw that I had a third graduate class- a second 8 weeks reading and vocabulary instruction course that I assumed was for next semester. No, not at all. When I clicked on it, lo and behold there was a "Welcome to the class!!" announcement, along with a first unit dated Oct 17th- Oct 30th. Mind you, I logged in the evening of Oct 17th, so that day was gone. By Oct 23rd, I needed to complete two (detailed) assignments with a lot of required reading. By Oct 30th, I needed to plan, implement, document, and reflect on two lessons. Did I mention I student teach three days a week, school was off Friday, and thus I had 4 days to do the pre-reading/assignment, consult with my mentor teacher, and plan and implement and document said lessons? Thankfully I shoehorned the first lesson into a larger lesson over a news article, and the second one flowed naturally from that. Even more propitiously, my mentor teacher was able to be flexible and give me time. So it all worked out, but it was a busy last weekend, one that had me up until 2 a.m. morning before last. I woke up at 6. On 4 hours of sleep, I taught two classes, assisted in another, used up one of my prep periods to observe another teacher, and frantically used my other prep period (Mondays are 45 minute periods) to get everything done for school.

Tuesday (yesterday) I graded for about 5 hours and did homework for about 3. I went to bed exhausted and stressed out, but I was finally getting a bit ahead. It was set to snow all night- 6 inches- so I had to wake up early and leave early to prepare for an hour commute. I was feeling... insane. I mentioned to Bobby "maybe they'll cancel school??" he replied "not likely, Colorado is used to dealing with snow". I was hopeful, but realistic. He was right- in Texas, we freak out and go into lock down "OMG where are the cans of food and bottled water??" mode over an inch or two of ice. But Colorado has their snow shit together.

This morning, however, was amazing. Everything was piled with snow, and right as I headed out of my neighborhood I got a call- school was, indeed, cancelled. I spent most of the day catching up at the kitchen table, but I will also admit that I spent a few hours reading in bed with the blinds thrown open, watching the snow fall.

I need today off more than I realized. I have hours and hours of lesson planning and homework to do tomorrow, but I'm ready for it. I feel a million times better. I never had a snow day as a kid, and this one came at the perfect time. I don't mean to whinge or sound ungrateful- I know that taking 3 graduate classes and student teaching and volunteering and being busy with things I care about are all first world problems. But right now they're my problems and I'm getting nervous about them. I worked full time and went to school full time all through undergraduate AND my first master's degree. I was never, ever this stressed out. I don't know what it is. But I do feel like last weekend, getting a head a bit, and today, getting a break, are making things better.

Or this might just be the beginning of a sneaky hate spiral.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Regarding the Happenings of the Last Month- Month?!

An illustration of my thirst for knowledge. What mysteries lurk beneath the bell??
 I am totally immersed in school work, researching, and student teaching. I spend hours researching the most mundane things that are brought up in my graduate classes, simply out of curiosity. I'm reading at least a book a week- on top of school books- about education, lesson planning, child psychology, and anything else to do with kids and the teaching of said kids. Between my 3 full days a week at the school, plus commuting, the things I'm volunteering to do and the graduate classes and homework, plus the random obsessive researching, I'm pulling about 50-60 hours a week. That's before you add in the volunteering I'm still doing for the two non-profits I have worked with for over a year now.

My school is awesome, and I really adore the kids. My mentor teachers are great. What's weird is how I can be so passionately excited one day, and then so exhausted and almost ready to pack it in the next. I've never had this experience before. On the days I'm exhausted and overwhelmed, it's not that I truly want to quit. It's that I am humbled by how much I have to learn, and I am sometimes paralyzed with fear that I'm not doing it right, or that I'm failing the kids, and sometimes the gravity of my potential impact on them (even as a random student teacher) really hits me and it freaks me out. After only a month there, they are fiercely loyal, and kind, and protective of me in such sweet and peculiar ways. We have inside jokes. I suggest books to them, they suggest books to me, and we wave to each other in the halls. I'm bone tired, and I feel like I've been there for a year instead  of a month, but it's really incredibly satisfying. The happiness that it brings them when I do something as simple  as check out a book for them that I think they'd like seems like more than I deserve. I'm reminded that, although so many people claim to not want to teach high school students because they're already "set in stone", they are truly still so impressionable, and young, and innocent, and can swing wildly from one future to another.

Other than all that, I'm ready to get off of these damned crutches. One more week. And then I'll really be flying. In other school news, I start my final class towards my post graduate certificate in sustainable development. Me + school, together forever.