The start of the school year is approaching like a freight train. Right now I can see the smoke in the distance and make out the dim speck of its shape, but within a few days I’ll hear the whistle, then feel the rumble of the ground and smell the acrid petrol smell as it arrives.
Look, I’m not prepared. That’s what I’m trying to say.
I also kind of believe that there’s not a lot of point in spending my Summer preparing. I’ve done that before and all it’s done is eat into my holidays with stress and time spent on tasks that don’t actually result in my being more prepared for my classes.
The first few days back will be meetings – which I have complained about in the past (and probably will do again in the future), but actually I find them useful. Not directly in their content so much as how they help me transition into teaching brain space.
What usually happens is that I get all amped up and excited for the teaching year to come and all the awesome and amazing teaching tasks and extra-curriculars I’m going to be involved in. I have enough sense to hold myself back a little at least because I am aware I’ve limited time and energy. But … yeah, I still tend to over-estimate how much actual time and energy I have.
In truth there’s not much space for doing classroom teaching and the prep and correcting work that that involves. Let alone the extra committees I’m on and the outside school activities that I want to be involved in. I’m guessing I’ll be roped into teaching a term of after-school computers again, although I’m really “over” it at this point and it would be nice to pass that baton on. I’m definitely up for Running Club, but I’d want someone else to do the marathon organisation. Not least because I don’t want to run the relay next year. I’m aiming to do the half in fact! That’s assuming that we’ll stay in the country for that bank holiday weekend.
But look at me, getting pulled into the details of the future and living in day-dream land. That wasn’t what I meant to do. I mean, I am thinking about the future, because I want to ponder a certain approach. Basically, I think it might be worthwhile to be rigid about my working hours so that they don’t seep into all the seconds of my life, but at the same time I’ve recently been shying away from rigidity in all aspects of my life, preferring to attempt to attend to things with what they need; reactive rather than prescriptive and all of that.
Here’s the thing with teaching work though – it has the potential to expand to fill every waking moment (and some of the sleeping ones too). The work is never done, so I have to find what’s “good enough” to be adequately prepared, but I kind of hate that phrase “good enough”. It feels lazy to me. It feels, frankly, opposite to its literal meaning. “Good enough” isn’t.
But last year was a frantic scramble where my personal life felt like it fell into complete disarray. I want to ensure that there is time enough to stop the house decaying into complete clutter and decay. I want to ensure there is space for my marriage to get some attention. And when I say “time and space” I mean energy, not the the Doctor Who definition. And there has to be a place for creativity and exercise. I mean, this whole Summer has felt full to the brim and without enough “time” (energy) for doing all the things I wanted to attend to. How can I be expected to bring it along with me into the working months in the future? And not just the daily teaching time, but the extra time outside it. Literally, outside of basic survival time, I estimate there are two hours post teaching that is not taken up with cooking, eating, cleaning, dressing, making lunches, etc.
So, yeah. I need to boundary fence the time that I spend even with teaching in my brain I think. And I need to reclaim how I spend my decompression time, because I think there’s a way to double-task stuff like relaxing and folding clothes, or something like that.
Anyway, I don’t even really like when I’ve spent loads of “down”time playing Bejewelled and mindlessly watching TV. I want to maybe read this book before I return and think more.
I can’t write a single sentence more now because a child is roaring in my ear, crying because I won’t be dictated to by his arbitrary wants. *sigh*