(posted from Plinky)
Teachers are weird because we don’t really go by calendar years at all. We go by school years — those 10 months when we enter and serve our indentured servitude. (Side note: I’m not religious, but I tithe. A good 10% of my income funds my classroom. I’m not even joking about this.)
As such, when I consider what I achieved so far this year, I don’t think the first 6 months of 2011, I think of the last half of the school year. The sad thing is, while I “achieved” a lot, none of it was meaningful to me. Obligatory, yes. Meaningful, no.
Since January I managed (with help, of course. Very few people truly work in isolation or without help) to produce a yearbook, host a volunteer luncheon, and get our 8th graders promoted in a ceremony that didn’t look like it was pulled out of someone’s butt.
Any one of those is a large undertaking. That I managed to do all three without coming undone at the hinges is pretty amazing. Sure, my hinges were tried. There’s not a person I work with who isn’t a little more afraid of me than before. However, they are still on, which is all that counts.
What’s horrifying and hard for me is that I put on 5-10 pounds in 6 months, and I’m grossly dissatisfied with how it all went. Mind you, it’s not like I “failed”; however, it’s not like I “succeeded” either. The yearbook looks nice enough. There are 104 pages, and I think everyone’s name was spelled correctly. The volunteer luncheon was quite nice, and I believe people actually enjoyed it once they got past the fact that I was asking for both time and money. The promotion went off without a hitch, really, but it was hard. Just hard. Yet, when I was done, there was nothing that rewarded the time, effort and energy I had put into the project. On each occasion I was just happy it was OVER.
Worse? My classroom and students suffered for the process of all of these events. I cringe when I consider what my test scores will look like. I’m already dreading their return. How awful is that? Mind you, it’s not like I’ll be refining my craft for that grade. I’ve changed grade levels which means one of my goals is to LEARN the new curriculum as well as how to teach it. Doing it well would be icing on the cake.
Add to that this little tidbit. I’ve gained 30-40 pounds since I started working at this school. It’s no “accident”. I have, many days, consciously decided NOT to exercise and to overeat. You can’t sit with a bag of chips or take apart Oreos to make your own double-stuff and be surprised at the outcome. Why I’ve decided to abuse myself is beyond me. I’m sure the answer is there, but obviously I’m ignoring it all for whatever warped reason I have.
As if this weren’t enough, in January I’ll be heading to Yosemite for science camp with the 8th graders, my second goal is to get this weight down. Otherwise, I’m going to have to drag it around in the snow. It’s like I need some sort of hair shirt to remind me of all I’ve done wrong. Therefore, will dragging extra poundage shake me out of this, or will I accept that this is what you get in life when you’re mediocre?
So my goals for the new school year are to be following a food plan that is healthy and helps me lose the weight I’ve found, plus delivering the curriculum in both an interesting and engaging fashion, and finally pushing the students as far as I can to prepare them for high school. I hope I can commit to these goals and show the discipline needed to accomplish the task at hand. I also hope, somewhere in the process, is something I can feel good about.
I’ve got quite a trek in my future.