The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where does the time go?

Don't you hate when you have those days when you think you are going to get so much done, but before you know it the day is over and you have barely accomplished a fraction of what you thought you would get done? That was today.

I am on break from school right now. (What? In January? Yes, in January. Our school is connected to Los Angeles Mission College, so we have a similar schedule. We get a summer and winter break, during both of which there are shortened sessions of school for students to take college classes or make up credits. A few teachers teach for extra pay, but I took it off.) However... today I had a busy day planned. Unfortunately, being on break, Vinny and I have gotten used to "sleeping in," which usually means he wakes me up sometime around 7 or 7:30a.m. This morning, I set an alarm for 7 a.m, but I rolled over a blink of an eye later and Vinny was peacefully sleeping next to me and it was 8:21a.m. Oh no! I rushed to get myself and Vinny ready, but we didn't even make it out the door until 9am, so Vinny was half an hour late to preschool.

I arrived a bit late to my allergy shot appointment (I am going through immunotherapy to hopefully stop getting so many sinus infections), but I thought it would be okay, since I called to tell them. It was okay, but I waited half an hour for the nurse to be available to give me the shots. Then I have to wait 20 minutes to make sure I don't die. As I am sitting there in the waiting room after the shot, I am starting to feel a tight chest and a little lightheaded (typical asthma attack for me). I think through my "rush out the door" morning and realize I haven't taken any of my 4 allergy/asthma control medications. When the nurse calls me back in to check my reactions, I tell him I am having some trouble breathing, explain that I forgot to take my medications, and ask him for a Claritin. Instead, he gets the allergist, who walks in with a giant needle, says, "I'm going to give you some epinephrine; it should help," and jabs it into my arm. I screamed. Oh my Lord! I was not prepared for that! I get 3 shots a week, but NONE of them feel like that! Ouch, ouch, ouch!

Then he says, "Did that help?" Sure enough, I could breathe. "Good", he says, "You scared me when you screamed." "You scared me with that shot," I replied, "You didn't tell me it was going to hurt! The allergy shots don't hurt." "Different medicine," he says and then explains that I might feel a little jittery for a while, and off I go.

A little jittery? You know those cartoons where a character sticks his finger in a light socket and walks away shaking with volts of electricity running through his veins. Yeah... that was me for the next several hours.

I got to school in time for my meeting with my BTSA mentor, but with no time to finish anything else that I had wanted to get done in preparation for next semester (unit plans, going through materials for the Spring musical, etc.).

The next 5 hours were spent crunching through BTSA. Oh BTSA. It stands for Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment. It's a fancy name for what really is a bunch of paperwork and meetings to prove that you can teach. Why? Because in the state of California, after 1 year of intense classes on teaching strategies and methods and whatnot, along with a year of student teaching, you only get a "preliminary" credential. You then get 5 years to go through BTSA or another similar program to show that you really can do this. It's really nothing new, just more of the same stuff from the preliminary credential program, which you are now showing you have applied. It is not at all hard, but it is very, very time consuming. It takes 2 years. The first checkpoint when I have a huge packet of papers due is in February. This all has to be done alongside your mentor. Fortunately, my mentor is my department chair and good friend, which makes it so much easier, but it is still a nightmare. We spent 5 hours working on it (okay, maybe there was some small talk in between), but we didn't even finish everything I had left, and I had already completed like 80% of what needed to be done before I came in today.

As I walked out of school today, I could not believe how little I had gotten done, yet the clock on the marquee flashed 4:12p.m.

Where does the time go?

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