It is day one of a slice of life and it is 10 o'clock at night, I finally have time to sit and write. Most days are like this during the week. I head out the door at 6:15 and don't stop. Once Monday hits, time flies and I barely have time to breathe until Friday evening when I am ready to put my feet up in the recliner. I try not to do any work related work on Saturdays and on Sundays I get ready for the week ahead.
As a 17 year veteran in the teaching field, I have had to work harder to find balance in the last 3 years than ever before, managing a chronic disease as well as juggling my family and 3 jobs. What people don't often understand is that there is a never-ending workload that teachers have. Recently my good friend of many years, a computer-engineer by training and trade, entered the teaching profession after spending several years raising her son. She has unearthed some of my secrets such as why I don't like to go out on Friday nights, why I hate to leave my house once I get home, and why I am so efficient. In her former life, I described her as a piddler, but she has come to realize that time is one of the most valuable resources that teachers have. Sadly, we never have enough.
One of the craziest things about my time is that I don't have the time to document my time. The union recently asked us to keep a log recording all of the hours that we work outside of school. I am still reconstructing that. As part of my job as reading coach, I have to turn a log in bi-weekly to the state documenting my time as well. I am so busy doing the work, I don't have the time to leave paper trails for people. Instead they will have to follow my crumbs.
I could be watching tv right now, but instead I am slowing down to write. Every Thursday night at 10:00, I watch The Mentalist with my husband. He is actually joining me on this challenge too. My daughter of 8 wants to blog too and wants to read our blogs. Honestly, I haven't done much personal writing outside of the classroom since my work with The National Writing Project at the University of Central Florida in the summer of 1997. I haven't had ...no I mean...I haven't made the time. I hope that I can stick with this challenge. If you look at my previous blog entries, you will see that it has been almost a year since I have written on this blog.
What did I do with my time since I haven't been writing? I worked really hard to restructure my time so that I could exercise almost every day of the week. I reshaped how I spent my time and have logged over 300 miles since the beginning of the school year. That is one of the most important uses of my time, working on my health. What's most interesting is that my co-workers have joined me on this journey and I have been able to work while working out. It is amazing how time flies when doing so.
I walk with co-workers on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I meet with my reading department head on Fridays and we flesh out reading issues while we pound the pavement. We have carved out a 5 mile route around our campus, adjoining neighborhoods, an elementary school, and park. One plus is that I get to see other sides to my students. I watch them walk siblings home or cheer them on while they are engaged in activities after school. Sometimes they cheer me on. On Thursdays, while my daughter is at ballet, I met with my colleague and we talk research, teaching and reading. On Tuesdays, I walk with English teachers. This invaluable time allows me to strive for six and mentor others.
I have been writing for 37 minutes and I have thoughtfully used the time I have allocated for writing. I am left wondering that if you are a teacher: How do you find time to take care of yourself? How does your school help you find time to manage the workload? What supports (at home, in your classroom, at school) that help you manage your time? I am lucky I have many.