I found other ways to work a "full time" without actually teaching full time. I became a curriculum specialist. I became a literacy coach. I became a professional developer. I looked for ways to teach only part-time and do other things to make sure I was working full time.
All of which was satisfying. None of which was as much work as teaching is.
I'm not a slacker. Really, I'm not.
But here's the deal.
Teaching full time is exhausting. It has the potential to consume every waking hour.
Not all teachers are like this. We all know that.
But I am...Teaching can consume me.
So now I'm teaching again...full time...only this time it's at a community college...and we're three weeks into the semester and I'm remembering some things about teaching full time and what it takes out of me and I remember that being at a community college, it's not even one single-fucking-iota what it felt like to teach in k-12 full time. This I know...
But still...I'm remembering....
- I'm remembering what it feels like to never be caught up with all the grading I need to do.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to never be completely, perfectly, planned for all my classes, no matter how much time I spend planning and preparing (and I have lots more time to plan than I used to. Still, it's never enough.)
- I'm remembering what it feels like to know that no matter what I do, there are some students who I will not reach, because they are not at a place in their lives that they can learn from me, or from anyone for that matter. Their lives are, simply, impossible. And there's really not much I can do about it.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to not be able to control this aspect of teaching.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to want to do everything I can to get those students to learn anyway.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to be completely exhausted from trying to teach all of the students in front of me, whether they want to learn or not.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to know that I'm probably forgetting to turn in some paperwork or form to the front office, and that tomorrow, I'll get an email reminder that I forgot.
- I'm remembering that I HATE that.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to say that I don't have time to run because I have to teach, or I have to get ready to teach, or I have to grade some papers, or that I have a meeting to go to, or because I've done all of those things all day, I really should spend some time with my family, and not spend time running.
- I'm remembering what it feels like to be too tired from teaching at the end of the day to run.
- I love helping someone who just moments ago, didn't understand some concept, understand it now.
- I love helping someone who wants to communicate what they think about an important idea, find the words to communicate it.
- I love helping someone discover that they can do something that they previously thought they could not.
It's Thursday night. I've run once this week....again. Yesterday morning, I ran for the first time since Sunday. I eeked out 25 minutes on the treadmill and was almost late to my first class because of it...
I'll run tomorrow, because I'm lucky and I don't have classes on Fridays and I'll have time to run.
And then I'll run on Saturday and Sunday...finally. One of those days will be a long run...
And I wonder, will running mostly on weekends be enough to stay in shape and to continue being a runner? I wonder....
It was only about 3 years ago, that I started running and taking care of myself. I know that once I stopped teaching full time, I was able to find the time to run.
So, I'm wondering, will teaching cost me running?
That seems a high cost to pay.
Or maybe not...
I'm just remembering.
(Lest you think I've gone completely off my rocker and into the abyss...please know that I COULD HAVE run tonight, but I decided to go to HAPPY HOUR instead and have a few glasses of wine...I do have my SOME of my priorities straight after all...and the third glass of Pinot Noir is probably some of the cause of my melancholy this evening)