Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Way We Think Things Will Go vs. Reality

Getting to hang out with all of these lovely people over Thanksgiving break in Texas was a welcome respite from everything I'm about to whinge about below...

I had the idea that I would chronicle this year of my teaching internship right here on my blog. I envisioned it being similar to my first year teaching in Japan. I would share funny stories, insights, frustrations, and put it all in post form so it would be there to review in the future when nostalgia hit.

Of course, in reality, I've barely blogged at all these past few months. A lot of this can be chalked up to taking 3 grad classes while student teaching 30 hours a week and still volunteering, while trying to find time to hang out with Bobby. At first, I attributed my lack of time to being on crutches- it seemed a logical enough scapegoat. Then, once I was off the crutches and still stressed and tired and with no downtime to do frivolous things like blog, I decided it was because of all the homework I was doing, working ahead so that I'd have Thanksgiving week free of assignments- and yes, that was part of it.

But mostly, I think I'm  not managing my time very well. Not the majority of the time, but at least 25% of the time, I'll let my fear about not finishing a project/lesson plan/book in time get in the way of my being able to give myself some downtime. This happens, especially, when I'm procrastinating. 75% of the time, I can hit the library no problem, bang out 6 hours straight on Tues/Thurs, and then work all day Mon/Wed/Fri, and then do homework on Sat/Sun. And I'm productive, and it's good work, and I feel good about it. But then, say, 25% of the time- I just don't.wanna.do.it.dammit. And in those times, I don't just admit "you know what? I'm going to dick around on the internet for 4 hours instead of doing my homework because I'm just not feeling it today, so I should just put it away and go do something fun with Bobby, or blog, or work out, or go on a walk, and actually enjoy this time." No, what I do is live in denial about the fact that homework/lesson planning/reading that book on __________ just isn't going to happen, and instead I'll remain at the desk, frittering away my time. I'm not good about taking breaks, I guess is what it comes down to. Or I'm not good about building them in, maybe that's it. Either way, I have a tiny handful of assignments left in this semester, thanks to all my working ahead, and I'm currently sitting at a 4.0, so I know I'm doing something right. And my stress level has gone waaaaaaaaay down in the last few weeks. But now I'm feeling the crunch again, and I feel guilty about not "working all the time", which results in the stupid situation of not being able to let myself actively choose downtime, instead of just sneaking it in.

The problem is, I do have a lot, a LOT of work to do. And yeah, I'm getting the majority of it done. But I need to come up with a different approach for next semester, or else I'm going to go insane. This coming week I am sorting scholarship applications for the non-profit, planning a lesson and teaching it on Friday, writing a behavioral plan tonight and interviewing a student tomorrow, doing two other assignments for my courses, completing step 4 of an application for an international job which includes photocopies of my whole life and passport photos in professional clothes for visa applications, grading 17 incredibly long essays + character diagrams + background analysis work for AP Literature, reading a book called "Teaching with Love and Logic" and taking detailed notes as part of a SMART goal for my teaching internship, plus my usual commitments of my teaching internship. I'm also getting back in the gym and hitting up spinning classes today, Thursday, and Saturday, as well as yoga on Thursday and Sunday (skipping the gym "because I'm busy" has been an excuse for too long this semester; I've been this busy the whole time, that's never going to change, but what is changing is my ability to fit into any of my professional clothing).

All of the previous has to be done by Friday night, so I only have one day off from teaching (Thursday) and 4 evenings to work on all of it. This weekend the homework/lesson planning starts all over again with an equally packed schedule for next week. One good thing is that two classes will be FINISHED this Saturday, and my third grad class will be finished on Wed, December 7th when I reflect on the last lesson plan I have to submit for the semester. I really think this whole experience would be very different if I wasn't going to grad school full time *while* student teaching. Don't get me wrong- I love that I'm getting credit for my student teaching, and I love that I'm getting a master's degree out of the kind of education classes I have to take for certification either way. But it's intense, ya'll. F'real though.

I'm really hoping to be able to blog more consistently, if only as a way to focus my thoughts. I promise they won't all be navel gazing bitch-fests about being busy like this one is. Honestly, I'm really enjoying so many things about this year, I'm just not enjoying my schoolwork. The teaching? It's great. My school, awesome. The kids? So, so cool. I love 'em. And all 3 of my mentor teachers are kind and helpful and intelligent and I am lucky to have them supervising me. I just need a break from all of this damn homework. Then I can be a tiny bit less crazy.

Every little bit helps in that department, trust me.

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