Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Finding Meaning in the Crazy

My life is crazy.

No, really.

I teach 9th and 10th graders full time. I have 6 classes for a total of 121 students. Not only that, but I teach English which means my grading takes at LEAST twice as long to complete than the average math or science teacher.

I am also enrolled in grad school full time. Yes, full time. 9 credits. Luckily it is my last semester.

I also am the head JV softball coach. "That isn't so bad. You have assistants to help you out." Yeah...not so much this year. The assistant varsity coach will be on maturity leave during the season so the head varsity coach took my assistant coach thus leaving me with no full time assistant this year. It is also very difficult to find a replacement because there are not that many people who can get off work at 3pm every single day.

So yes, my life is completely crazy. My boyfriend and I get into stupid fights because "I don't make time for him" but he "doesn't want me to give up what I love"

Which means I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I've learned the only way to combat this feeling of complete craziness is to remember why you got into the crazy in the first place. If you can't remember why, then you should just cut it out of your life.

I have been involved with softball since I was 5. I played it until I was 18. My freshmen year of college, I missed it so much that I found a local team to help coach. I was an assistant varsity coach for three years. After college, I came back home. I decided not to coach my first year teaching because I figured that would be too crazy even for me. I realized I missed it way to much.

Last year, the JV coach left and they needed someone. I stepped up to the plate* and decided to coach knowing full well I would have to balance grad school as well as teaching.

It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The girls were a blast to work with and that intense happy/satisfied feeling softball brought me as a player came back as a coach. Not coaching would leave me with a hole that can only be filled by softball.

Grad School
Obviously, I can't just "quit" grad school. Even though I can't get rid of it, I have to remind myself why I do it.

I do it because I want to learn more about profession. I want to become a better teacher. I want to impact my students in new ways. I don't want to become the boring, old, repetitive teacher; I want to constantly be current and engaging.

Even though it drives me crazy every once and a while, grad school is important to everything I do.

The burnout rate for teachers is less than 5 years.

I'm in year 4 and I can completely relate to that statistic.

I am constantly tired because I stay at school for over 12 hours. I work on the weekends and sometimes freak out when I don't. I've gotten better at making sure I set aside time for myself but it is difficult when I feel like I don't have enough hours in a day to do my job well.

Every time I think I reach my breaking point, something happens to remind me why I teach. This time it was an argument.

My sophomores are reading Things Fall Apart. Like most assigned reading for school, my students were not excited to read the novel. However, due to my hard work in grad school, I was able to devise a unit that would at least force the students to read and not rely upon SparkNotes.

On Friday, they were assigned various aspects of the Ibo culture to examine and draw conclusions about based upon what is presented in the novel. Two of those topics were "manhood" and "womanhood." My students began to debate, totally unprompted by me, about Okonkwo and if he really was "manly" or not. They were using examples from the text and finally agreed that it depended upon the definition of "manly" that was used.

They were not only reading but having an emotional response to the reading. They were exploring the human concept of "strength" and "weakness" on their own. They were doing everything I had hoped they would do and more.

It seems small and it seems insignificant but, it the meaning in my crazy. It is the reason I do what I do and it is the reason that, although I'm exhausted, I'm no where near burned out.

No comments:

Post a Comment