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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, July 21, 2010

Not... enough.... time

My summer is very near to the end. You may be thinking... what? It's only July 21st. This is true, but I go back to work on July 29th, which is unbelievably 9 days away. Particularly because I am going on maternity leave at some point, I really, really, really feel the need for the semester to be solidly ready to go by the time classes start on August 3rd. That is so close, and I am so far from ready. I have been thinking so big picture planning-wise, like getting my unit plan for September done, for instance, that I haven't even updated my syllabus or really prepared the activities for the first week of school. I have learned, however, that I am not the only one who is feeling rushed and like summer is over because there is just so much planning to do.

I spent many hours on planning stuff yesterday, and was up until almost 1am last night finishing my Persepolis unit for September.After a fantastic time at the beach today with some of my playgroup friends (we also brought Vinny's best friend Landon, so it was the ultimate wonderful day for him), I sat down to my computer for more planning. During this planning session, I ended up doing some mostly work-related online chatting with the freshman English teacher. After a bit, she said, "My eyes are killing me... not used to the computer for 10 hours anymore," to which my jaw nearly dropped. I too have been spending hours planning, but 10 hours on a summer day might kill me. I told her to take a break, go eat some ice cream, watch tv, or something, since we still have a week until we even start professional development days. Her response was, "Don't say that... not.... enough.... time." I SO could not have said it better myself. It just feels like there is not enough time. I am tempted to do nothing but work for the next week straight, just to feel confidently ready to go and prepared, but realistically, it would just make me unhappy and stressed, and doing that much at one time I think actually becomes counterproductive because I just have trouble focusing. (In the process of trying to write my unit yesterday, I also researched the "what's up now" with a band I used to listen to like 5-10 years ago, priced Green Day tickets, and posted nothing short of 25 comments on people's facebook statuses and pictures).

Anyhoooow.....  I am going to Arizona with Vinny for the next 5 days for our semi-annual visit with his cousin/friend Hannah and her mommy, my cousin/friend Tracy. Although a little part of me is wishing that this trip didn't fall in the middle of my last week to get this stuff done, the other part of me is really quite glad for the timing, which will force me to have some great last minute recreational time before wholly giving myself to school until the baby comes. In that way, it sort of feels like my last special Mommy-Vinny trip ever. Wow... didn't think about that until right now. Getting emotional. Actually getting teary-eyed. I know this sounds crazy, but this will be like our 4th or 5th Mommy-Vinny trip to Phoenix, and these times of travel and bonding with our cousins are really special to both of us. I mean, I even sort of liked the 7 hour drive alone with him in January. It will probably never be this way again. As soon as I get back, it is back to school and frantic preparations for Tiana who will be here before we know it.... Wow....

Speaking of Tiana, and back to my initial topic of planning, I started to loosely plot my curriculum on a calendar today and found it really sobering to look at September and write in lessons that I really like and feel passionately about for the last couple weeks of September... knowing that it will not be me teaching them. Even for like the lessons on the 13th, 14th, 15th, I found myself subconsciously praying, "Please God, let me still be pregnant for that week." If I remember how I felt at like 37 weeks last time, I am probably really going to be kicking myself for that thought/prayer if I am still pregnant at that point, but I am just having a hard reality check realizing I really will have to hand over my classroom to someone.

On the other hand, I also found myself getting very bitter at the fact that out of the 4 major assessments I have planned for the semester (narrative essay, expository essay, persuasive visual montage, and persuasive letter), the sub will actually only be responsible for grading 2 of them, one of which is the montage, which means I will be grading 2 out of the 3 essays assigned. What the heck? How did that work out? The sad thing is, I should be glad to know that I will have a good idea of where the students' are at with writing abilities and I can feel confident that their grades are substantially mine when I enter final marks at the 20 week semester report card, but instead, I am just picturing big stacks of paper....

Well this blog was a lot of random musing. I am going to take my own advice and go eat some ice cream and watch tv now.

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