Friday, August 12, 2011

School Year Resolutions!: Seven Quick Takes (Vol. 4)

School starts on Monday. Yikes! How did that happen?  Now that I am down to the very few tangible hours before serving out my nine-month sentence (not that I really think of it that way), instead of completing the projects that will enable me to be a contributing member of society and avoid my tendency towards being a perpetual martyr/beast of a person to live with, I am idealizing ways to make this year better. If I put them here, I'll be more accountable right? Here goes:

Resolution 1: You don't have to read that email right now. Last year, I made the mistake of connecting my school email to to my smart phone. I also was in the habit of frequently checking it throughout the day. I have since lost count of the the number of times I let an email I was not required to read at that particular time destroy my peace. A strongly worded email read during a planning period could frazzle me, throwing me off my game when the students returned to the classroom. An email from a parent demanding explanations of test scores could make my phone buzz just as I was parking at my apartment on a Friday afternoon, or worse, right as I was going to bed, and I would spend the majority of my precious leisure/family time mentally rehearsing the responses I would give come Monday. No more. No more work emails coming to my phone,  and no more compulsive email checking. I'll read them once a day. At a set time, when I have the time to respond to them thoughtfully, and the rest of the time, emails will be the furthest thing from my mind. Fingers crossed.

Resolution 2: If you plan bigger chunks, you lose less weekend. This one I implemented a bit before the end of the last year, but hope to take it even further. It's quite frustrating to have a weekend disrupted by the trip to school (since you really hate to bring home all those humongous teacher manuals) to plan for the week. But if you plan for the month, this helps a little bit. Yes, you still lose precious weekend time, but instead of losing a little bit each weekend, lose a lot one weekend, and enjoy the uninterrupted time the rest of the weekends that month. Of course, plans will have to be tweaked depending on if you covered material faster or slower than anticipated, but most of the mental energy will already have been expended.

Resolution 3: Parents want you to succeed; don't be afraid to check in with them. Being a new teacher, I was so tempted last year to always make it at least look like I had it together (since the assumption generally is that you don't) and this kept me from mentioning passing concerns to parents since I didn't want them to worry (or doubt that I was competent). But running into those same parents at this year's Back to School Night, I saw how much they really appreciated the work I did with their children and the confidence they had in me. Just imagine what we could do if we were even closer allies.

Resolution 4: Get the heck out of there! Why are you still here? At the end of the day, grateful for just a chance to sit down, I'd sink into my desk chair and browse the internet with abandon. Sitting was so comfortable and clicking the mouse so mindless, I'd wake from my stupor with a jolt and realize that I could be doing this very same activity at more comfortable clothes!

Resolution 5: Stay on top of that grading. Many was the night before grades were due last year, that I'd stay up late putting all of them in order. Why do I torture myself so? Luckily, our school is implementing an online grading system that the parents will be able to check. Nothing like a little holy terror to keep you honest and on top of things.

Resolution 6: Keep Chocolate in the Desk. Emergency rations, they can't hurt right?

Resolution 7: You're not the only person living here.  So many times last year the state of our apartment was more like a halfway house of people in survival mode than the cozy of haven of rest my inner June Cleaver would like for it to be. School work, exhaustion and to be honest, laziness would keep me from keeping up with the house. The result of which would be that we would have to spend so much weekend time returning it to livable conditions, only to see it disintegrate the very next week. Hopefully, I can follow through on Resolution #4 by getting home early, while avoiding the pitfall of building an impenetrable fort out of the corner of the couch, I'll be able to keep our apartment more of the home we tried to turn it into this summer. First order of business, have Mark's shirts ironed before the school week starts, not ironing one in a mad rush each and every morning.

So will I follow through on all these high minded goals? That remains to be seen. Will I fail a lot? Probably. I'll revisit this post come June 1st. 180 days left to go.

Now go see Jen


  1. These are some awesome resolutions. I think anyone could apply these to their lives with great success :)

  2. shoot. I thought I commented on these when you posted them. I definitely did in my head.

    doesn't count. I can relate to all (from a previous life)

    thanks for your sweet comments! (don't know how to email you sorry!)

    would LOVE a thanksgiving get together...Simon's schedge is still up in the air but I'm betting I'll at least be here with the two Patton juniors and will gladly brave a car trip for coffee or something stronger!!

    Be in touch!!!

  3. I loved this post! I am also somehow happy to see I'm not the only one that fights with all those things you just described!!! We can do it!:)

  4. Amen sister! I did a program like Teach for America (but with low income Catholic schools), and I taught 6th grade on the south side of CHicago...for six months! I was at a dysfunctional school; sounds like the one you were at!

    God Bless you for keeping with teaching! I am thinking of completing my certification so I can teach at the Catholic school my daughter will go to! :)