Now, those of you who are perhaps more serious than I am about writing are probably shrugging me off as ridiculous, saying that if writing was really that important to me, then I'd find the time to do it. One thing I don't get about super serious writers is the lack of lives I feel like they often lead. For me, I don't know how to write about life unless I'm living it. And sometimes, in order to live it, I have to have a break from writing. In this particular situation, the very rare free time I have from school is time I use to try and keep our house standing and somewhat clean. It is also time i need just to not have to do anything, when grading and planning duties permit that.
Do I miss writing? Yes. I am looking forward to the summer where I will, hopefully, be relieved of some of the stress I am facing now and have time to push back through another heavy revision of the book. I haven't touched it in quite some time, and I am hoping that this time away will allow me to read with a more critical eye and help me revise more effectively than I have in the past. In the mean time, I do spend some time reading about writing here and there to try and prep myself for the jump back into the revision. I can't tell you how many times I read that it is extremely important to have a reader--a read who is critical and knows writing--to work with. I feel like this is super important but have yet to find that person. People often ask for a copy of the manuscript--and I am selective about who it goes to--but rarely do I get any sort of feedback. I do realize that a 95,000 word manuscript takes time to read, and a lot of people, like me, do not have the time for a thorough read and give comments and all that--but I could really use a regular, reliable, critical reader. I guess if I spent a little time networking, maybe with this blog, that I might find someone willing to pair up with me. This is a tangent: I don't attach my blog to writers' blogs because I feel like I'm not one of them--not quite good enough, not quite serious enough, not a real writer--and I don't always--or even often--write about writing. Tangent over. I am reluctant to share the manuscript now, truth be told. The book is my baby. I don't want to share it unless it's in tip-top condition, which, apparently, it is not. And I don't want to share it without solid feedback anymore--I obviously need more of that. So I guess I should start interviewing people before they get a copy haha. But for real. No more book without any kind of return.
That's all the book stuff in my world right now. Just a pile of thoughts floating around my head really because my time does, in fact, go to teaching fully for the most part. I am hoping that if I manage to get a job, I will learn how to balance my time more effectively. I have fallen into a dangerous pattern where I work and work and work and work and then I still have work to do, but by the time I get a little time where I could work to get ahead to save me some work in the future while having fun (think cleaning the house--or making dinner--normal people stuff), I just don't do the work and end up sleeping or something along those lines and am still behind. I am worn out right now. I love teaching, that hasn't changed, but I am going to have to get it together if I'm going to survive and live in this field. I think if I do find a teaching position, that some things will certainly be easier, as I will no longer be a student teacher. There are quite a number of things that I struggle with just because I am only student teaching and not in charge of my own classroom. In some respects, a job will mean less work--but also more. I don't know what to think about all this. I love the kids more than anything--and I really think that's the most important part of all of this. I'm pretty certain that if you don't like students, then you really have no business in the classroom whatsoever. Every day teaching is certainly not rewarding, and some days are like an eternity spent in, as one of my students recently said, thatgreathotfieryplace, but overall, the students should be able to make those bad days worth it for a teacher. They do for me, and they don't even know that. And I think that's why I'm still around.
One of the things I really struggle with is the idea that a teacher, a good teacher, is supposed to be some kind of superhuman being at all times. The sooner people get rid of this idea, the better. It's understandable to people that a waitress is having a bad day or an accountant is sick of working with taxes or a garbage man forgot to get trash on one side of the street because he was up late, but when it comes to teachers, many people have no understanding or forgiveness for mistakes. I can't begin to tell you how many mistakes I've made in the classroom. And I can't begin to tell you how difficult it is when people point them out and demand explanations and are completely put off when the best I can come up with is, "I'm sorry, I was tired, it was a mistake. I'll fix it right away." It's the truth--yet it doesn't fly in education. I am supposed to be on my game 100% of the time, every single day--even though no human is ever like that. I bring as much as I can to my students when I am in the classroom--but on bad days, when I am having issues outside of teaching, when my car doesn't start or someone I love is sick, or heaven forbid I am sick myself, I am still expected to bring the same energy to the classroom that I am expected to bring when I am doing well--no exceptions. And these no exceptions are not held over a teacher's head by the students, either. I try to make it so that my students know I am a person with a life--and sometimes they know I'm having a rough day. And sometimes they even make it easier. Unfortunately, teachers are also expected, it seems, to give up their personal lives, any life outside of school, to teach. Why is it that a waitress or an accountant or a garbage man are off duty when they are off duty, but a teacher is not? I know that I will always have to bring work home, that I am considered to be a role model when I am outside of the school building and uphold a positive reputation in the community--and that stuff isn't difficult for me, but I do expect to get to enjoy down time. I understand that I am impacting your children's futures--that scares me too still--but I cannot be an effective educator if I am never allowed any time away from the classroom. I cannot grade ten different assignments in one weekend for all my students ad expected to come back to school on Monday energized with a great lesson planned.
With all that said, I love the kids. Love them. I can't stress that enough. I am going have a difficult time leaving this group behind, in fact. It has been a really valuable and transformative experience for me--and for some of them as well. I am scared of what the future holds for me. I am scared that I won't get a job and will be forced to sub or adjunct again. I think I will adjunct before I sub. And I also think that both of those things will eat away at my soul. In fact, I know they will. I am afraid that I will get a job and not do well completely on my own. I am afraid of not living up to my own high expectations. I am extra afraid of what's coming--hopefully interviews--as this very, very small window of time for me has the potential to really make or break my entire career and determine the rest of my life. That is beyond frightening. Mostly, though, I am afraid of everything falling through. I don't have a back-up plan if I can't teach, besides being a cashier at Aldi. That would be okay for a while, but I feel like I have put in too many years of school and too much money and too much sacrifice to not be using any of my education to get a job at this point. But I am realistic in that I do know it is a strong possibility. I may not find a job again. I didn't last time. And who's to say I will this time?
I know I can handle it if things fall apart this time again, I think. But I will be a wreck for a little while. I have been stressed beyond my normal levels since January, and if I could just get some relief for a few months, I would be ever so thankful. I'm not going to go into details about how stress affects me physically, but let's just say that things are ALMOST back to normal now...and it has been nearly four months. Annnd I'm coming up on job stuff, so it's probably going to get bad again. I guess my dream would be to know I have a position somewhere for the fall by the end of May. That would be absolutely amazing. It would give me time to prepare and time to relax and time to recharge and revise and rewrite myself again. I need that badly right now.
This post has traveled all over the place. I really just needed time to write I think--and get some of this out of me. Thanks for reading, if anyone is still reading. Sorry I disappeared for such a long time. Sometimes it is easier for me to ignore the things I really need to do for myself than actually do them, as they do take time away from the things I am required to do. But I feel better. I am on spring break for six more days. I have time to plan and grade and apply to jobs, and I have other time to maybe read something I want to read or write or watch movies or cook or do some house projects or hang out with the dogs and cats and husband or run or work out every day if I want. Right now I have time. It is going to pass by before I even understand what happened, but I am hoping these next free days will help me gear up for the next big stress I will be facing. I have three more weeks of student teaching to complete and the job search stuff has already begun. I am so very thankful that I know what I am supposed to do with my life--or at least I am relatively sure I know--I am just scared that I won't get to. Everything happens for a reason. I live my life by that and have always believed it without a doubt, and I am going to have to keep putting stock and faith into that little mantra for the next months while trying to stay sane and enjoy the uncertainty I am faced with once again. It is kind of exciting, I guess, not to know where my life is headed right now. Kind of. For a planner like me, though, it is more difficult than anything.
At any rate? This still will matter when I'm dead. Thanks for reading.