Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I often hear how spoiled teachers are, to get so much time for vacation. And I'll admit, there are lazy mornings over winter break, with the rain pounding on my windows, that I do, indeed, feel spoiled about having time off. There are days I spend in the sunshine while my peers slave in their offices. Even today, with my long, exhausting, crazy day, I feel spoiled to have a job I love, to spend the afternoon in a park with my students, to like seeing people I haven't seen in a while. Call me spoiled for loving what I do, for getting to hang out with awesome kids. But don't call me spoiled because you think I work less than other professions.

There are many arguments I could make to tell you why, indeed, this isn't as wonderful as it looks. But I think the most compelling is just to show you.

I am currently on vacation. I don't go back to work until Tuesday, January 18th. I have had a delicious 4 week winter break, and don't apologize for it. There have been many lazy days and warm, sunshiny days. But there are also, always, many days like today. Today, this is how I spent my "vacation."

I woke up at a very lazy 8am, made breakfast, watched my soap, and had a cup of coffee. I then gathered my belongings and went into my classroom. I immediately put on music (yes, I rock the iTunes while I plan) and rolled up my sleeves. As often happens, though, my classroom was not exactly as I left it. I had a surprise! A shiny new doc cam, set up on my teaching table. The things that previously lived in this place were stacked neatly in all sorts of odd spots, and the old doc cam still sits at a student desk. I am not quite sure what I'm supposed to do with it. So, before I could even begin my regular work, I had to reorganize my work space.
I was in my classroom today for about 3.5 hours. During that time I:
  • planned my lessons for the next week for 6th, 7th and 8th grade English
  • prepared flipcharts for those lessons
  • emailed colleagues and students
  • prepared a flipchart for my Portfolio Prep class, as well as the STAR Writing Class (which I no longer teach, but does prepare my students for the test and therefore I am invested in planning)
  • cleaned and organized my desk area
  • set up and learned how to use my new doc cam
  • started cleaning out the front tables which I now plan to use as additional student desks, instead of a teaching area
  • met with our librarian, as she had some books to give me
  • realized that today will NOT, as I had hoped, be my last day in my classroom before Tuesday.
This is an image taken by my new doc cam. Yay for shiny new toys!

After that I took a lunch break, ran some errands, and headed over to the park by the school to watch the first Middle School soccer scrimmage. It was a beautiful day, and I definitely got some sun. I tried to grade and watch the game at the same time, but seeing many coworkers and parents and students for the first time after several weeks meant too much catching up and socialization. So community building, as we call that, until 3:30. Still work, though!

Next, I scooted my exhausted butt over to the local coffee shop to meet with a coworker. Half an hour of grading someone else's papers (a coworker on maternity leave needing some assistance) and then two hours of planning with and supporting our new team member. We planned out the whole unit for 8th grade English, discussed strategies, and generally flushed out ideas. It can be exhausting planning with someone new, through no fault of theirs!

It was a 9 hour workday. On vacation. I still have several essays to read before next week, and will have to spend at least a few hours doing nothing but cleaning and organizing in my classroom. Not to mention the work that needs to be done on the yearbook, the intervention class, and the upcoming spelling bee!

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