So apparently I’m not the only one who regularly ends up spending weekends in a way other than they were intended. Operation Get Back the Weekend won the most votes in my poll, so here we are.
Chica has a slight obsession with the days of the weeks. She always asks what day it is and then proceeds to tell you the special event that occurs on that day. Today is Wednesday, so she happily exclaimed this morning, “It’s choir day!” Many months back we started referring to Saturday as Family Day, trying to explain to her the reason that we didn’t go to school. The interesting thing is that Saturday has seemed to morph into Sit And Watch Movies All Day Day because Mommy has so much school work to do.
I’m over that. Really over it.
So I decided for about the 59th time in my career as a teacher that I was going to try to tackle my grading a little at a time each night instead of saving it all for the weekend. I realized this weekend that my new assignment as a math and science teacher makes this much more doable than my gig last year as a reading and social studies teacher. The grading is considerably faster, and there are less project-ish types of assignments that take all week to complete. Also, it’s super helpful to find on Monday that a kid is having a problem with a specific math skill instead of waiting until Saturday or Sunday to discover they’ve practiced it wrong all week.
So I’m three nights in.
Monday: No problem. There was no homework to check through, so I think I was done in 30 minutes or so. I plopped down on the couch after I was all finished just oh-so-proud of myself. I think I probably bragged to Jay three or four times in the ten minutes before I fell asleep, “Oh man….I’m so excited. I got all my papers graded. Oh man. This was such a great idea.” He’s a good sport.
Tuesday: I did it, but it wasn’t pretty. There was an assignment that we had been taking an eternity to finish. I decided that I would grade it as-is and then give it back to them to finish and correct….and I told them that. So, I had to follow through with grading those plus the regular stuff. I decided at about 10:30 when I was falling asleep with the checking pen in hand that it was time to call it a night. I did finish them today in a few spare moments at school. Two days in a row with all papers graded. That is totally some kind of record. I’m not even kidding.
Wednesday: I haven’t started. But I so want this to work, and I so want to spend my weekend with my family instead of my grade book, so I’m headed to the dining room table next, pep talking myself the whole way there.
This self discipline thing is funny. I was thinking today that if I was a researcher, I would try to prove that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of creativity and the amount of self discipline that people have. I just think that creativity gets in the way of self discipline AND self discipline can get in the way of creativity. (Woah…that was deep for 10:02…and I hadn’t even planned that one ahead of time.)
I am really good at coming up with ideas of how to make something work better in my life. And more times than not, that better solution involves me doing work regularly instead of all at once when it’s way too late. But I almost never stick to my fantastic plan, and I end up right back where I started, plus just a little more frustrated with myself. Here’s to hoping that papers every night….or even most nights….might become part of my routine and not just a wish. I keep coming back to dishes and bath time. I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit it, but a year ago dishes and a bath for Chica were not part of our nightly routine. They happened when they happened….which usually was every two or three nights. When Bubba came along, though, Jay and I decided together that this “whenever” plan wasn’t really going to work. We did it. We came up with a new plan, and we actually stuck to it. Now the dishwasher runs every school night. Every. Single. Night. I realize that’s truly no big deal for most families. Fine. But that was big stuff for us. And it gives me hope that my newest plan could actually go somewhere.
So I promised in my last post a few tips on how to appreciate your child’s teacher. It’s related. Stick with me.
Last weekend when I was actually managing to enjoy a little family time before the grading marathon began, I ran into one of my students and his family. His mom, who works at another school in the city, thanked me for the effort that I put into giving feedback on their papers. Be still my heart. (Sheesh…am I actually tearing up recalling this moment?) Sometimes I feel guilty for spending so much time on school work away from my family, and at the same time I manage to feel guilty for not doing enough as a teacher. Ridiculous. Her comment pushed all those feelings aside. Instead I felt relief and appreciated.
So if your kid has a teacher that is doing something right…anything…will you tell her? If you don’t get a chance to see her, maybe you could jot it in a note. This week I got a, “I have to leave early to go to the dentist” note from a dad that started with a super eloquent sentence of thanks. Just awesome. If you don’t have time for that, how about one just okay sentence on the back of an old receipt? Anything…anything…I tell you is worth it to a teacher.
Ok…I’m off my soap box now. On to the papers.