Friday, February 15, 2013

The Seven Year Itch

The last few weeks of work and teaching has been by far the most difficult of my entire seven year career.

Tougher than juggling coaching, teaching 6th grade geography and 8th grade math without a true classroom of my own the first year I taught.

Tougher than dealing with hyper-helicopter parents that emailed me regarding a grade the minute I hit "save" in the online gradebook.

Tougher than leaving my friends and comfort zone when I switched schools because Craig and I were getting married.

Tougher than piecing together a volleyball program that the girls would be proud to be a part of.

Tougher than last fall when I had a volleyball game on Halloween and missed Natalie trick or treating as the most adorable zebra.

Nothing major happened to make it in the school is just plugging away.  Lessons are created, written and put into action.  Students are taking notes, socializing with friends and forgetting to turn in homework.

But something in my soul is restless.  Frustrated.  Annoyed.

I couldn't put my finger on why I was losing my temper or having trouble finding academic inspiration for lessons and my students but then a co-worker said this to me after hearing my complaints - "but you're young, you can go do something else if you want; there is still time."

But I'm not and there isn't.

I've invested seven years of my life to the educational system in Texas and four and a half more than that if you count the years I spent studying to become a teacher.  I'm at the point where I'm too far in to even consider a career change.  And plus....what else am I qualified to do?  In what other career would I have the luxury of summer vacations and two weeks off at Christmas?  Craig and I had a child because we were settled down in our careers - going back to school isn't an option, both in terms of time management and finances.

So here I am.  Struggling to find inspiration.  Frustrated with what seems to be a smear campaign of the public education system by political figures.  Annoyed with students who don't seem to care as much as I do about their success in school or in the athletic arena.  Angry at parents who believe that the school I love so much isn't good enough for their child to attend.

Even writing this post is sapping me of energy.  It's being pieced together sentence by sentence, a little bit written here.....a little bit added over there.  Almost as if I'm trying to siphon out my feelings a tiny piece at a time or else the whole dam might burst and I will be a complete emotional mess sitting alone in my classroom.

Maybe I'm tired right now because I know what awaits me next year - a whole new path in my teaching career.  Or maybe this is a good thing - to become bored with the coaching regime so that I am better prepared to say good-bye to this part of my life when the end of the school year comes.

I guess I'm stuck in limbo.....the perpetual state of waiting - a purgatory of sorts.  Biding my time until the year ends and I start fresh next year with a whole new host of challenges and problems to conquer.  I've just never, EVER had to push myself this hard to be interested and excited about my job.

And now I sit here listening to "Awake My Soul" by Mumford & Sons and they're right.  I need my soul to be awakened and rejuvenated.  I need a change and a challenge.  I need something to kick me into gear so that I can approach my job with fresh eyes and an open heart.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This and That

I have roughly ten drafts sitting in my post folder right now.  It's not that I've been terribly busy lately....just relatively uninspired, I suppose.  


About three weeks ago, Craig was officially diagnosed as a Type II Diabetic which I think isn't really as scary as it sounds.  He's already got a genetic disposition for it and then combine that with his penchant for unhealthy hamburgers and there you go.  It's upended our eating habits a bit - there are more fresh foods in our fridge and I haven't had pasta in three weeks but for the most part, we're surviving.  I got a Diabetic cookbook and have been working my way through the recipes, usually picking out three to make during the week for dinner and then leftovers.  We are still eating out about once or twice a week but Craig is sticking with fish and steamed veggies and so far he has dropped twelve pounds!

Meal planning is relatively easy for me because I've really made it a part of our weekly routine and I'm not afraid to try new stuff in the kitchen.  At the beginning of the school year I bought one of those big "floating" style frame where it's just clear glass and placed five big squares of paper inside, each labeled with a day of the week.  Every Sunday morning Craig and I sit down at the table and figure out when we'll be home to eat and what we would like to have for dinner.  Then from there I write down the specific ingredients I'll need to buy as well as what household and other food items we are almost out of.  Then we go grocery shopping and are generally set for the week.  It has really cut down on us eating out because there is fresh food in our fridge that HAS to be eaten.

And hopefully as a by-product of Craig HAVING to eat healthier and lose weight....maybe I will too?!


Sunday night Natalie fought the good fight during bedtime.  Craig put her down in the crib around 8:30 and then we didn't really hear from her much after that....just a THUD from upstairs around 9:15 or so which we assumed was her plopping down and going to sleep.


At 10:00 when Craig and I were crawling into bed, girlfriend was doing SOMERSAULTS back and forth in her crib.

And she continued her battle with sleep for the next thirty minutes....blankets were thrown out and her giraffe lovey was tossed around angrily while her feet pounded on the side of her crib.

It was a mixture of hilarity and frustration for me - just go the eff to sleep little darling!  Craig went back into battle around 10:30 and patted her back for awhile until she finally gave it up and passed out.


This morning I was down in the kitchen putting together lunches while Natalie sat at the table eating Cheerios and blueberries.  She was babbling about what I was doing ("Momma lunch!  Momma bag!") while I puttered around bagging up chips, fruit and other lunchtime essentials.  

After I zipped my lunch bag closed and moved on to rinsing out her pink lunch box in order to fill it with her sandwich, goldfish and fruit, she straightened up at the table, raised her arms in the air and cheered "YAY MOMMA!!!" 


She then followed this up by climbing down from her chair and sprinting across the kitchen to cling to my leg.  

Apparently she was super excited that I was allowing her to eat lunch today.  No problem my hungry little hippo.  If that's all I have to do to make you happy for the rest of your life....


My lovely little town has been caught up in the drama of REZONING parts of our elementary schools in an effort to balance out the number of students at each middle school.  Craig's school has over 1,000 students with nine portable classrooms while my school is under 700 and we have the largest middle school building in the district.

Something needs to be done and as with anything....there isn't an easy answer.

But I do know that dividing the community into pieces and pitting one side of the road against the other isn't it.

In my little liberally-bleeding, do-gooder, actively-involved-citizen heart I KNOW that I should go to the public meetings and voice my opinion.....but I just don't have the energy.  

I know myself.  

This is a personal issue that I hold close to my chest and I don't want to put myself out there only to hear terrible things said about my school and the staff and children I love so much that fill the halls and classrooms.

So Craig and I are going to stay home tonight, cook a good dinner and play with an adorable little girl.