Monday, January 21, 2013

Fits and Starts

It's been a year since I started this blog, and a month since I last posted. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by either fact. Years seems to speed by faster as I age, and this past month has been one of both slow contemplation and frenzied task completion. And in retrospect, that is exactly how the teacher's life goes, I think.

I know I wasn't the only teacher (parent, human) who struggled with wandering thoughts of what-ifs, if-onlys, and what-would-I-dos since December 14. Once the initial despair wore off (or did it?), I was left with waves of sadness and worry and anger that ambushed me when I least expected it: driving through town to work, reading the morning news, walking to lunch, teaching a grammar lesson, composing an email, checking Facebook, waiting for sleep in the dark hours. I thought of the Newtown kids, the Newtown teachers and staff, the Newtown families, those who lost, those who lived, then: my kids, my colleagues, my families. I am willing to bet I will remember best the faces of the students who sit in my golden chairs this year more than any other; they are with me in every waking - and dreaming - moment.

And to some extent, these thoughts sort of paralyzed me. I couldn't think of what to write here. I didn't want to bustle about my house, sprucing up or cleaning up. I didn't connect with friends far away to chat about life and love. I didn't work out. I simply focused on what was most important for me, at that time - being at work and working.

And so, the month became filled with vocabulary and grammar and writing and literature, with essays and quizzes and reader responses, with writing lab and extra help and email conversations and video conferences. My accordion folders of correcting filled up, emptied, and filled up again. I carried them to and from work in my pretty new school bag, which got heavier and lighter and heavier and lighter.

Now, it's time to reclaim the balance. This will be slow work, I know. But I've made some calls, I'm back on the NordicTrack, and I'm interested in writing again. Of course, the work is important, but so am I. I can only be as good for my students and my school as I am to myself, and I don't want to be simply good. I want to be better.

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