This photo was taken five days ago when I was on my way to visit my mother at the old Homestead. It was a field just a couple miles away, up the street from where my childhood best friend lived. I’ve always loved wildflowers!
It’s a strange and empty feeling, with all the students gone and the work undertaken each day composed of proctoring tests, grading, assessing completed exams, pulling together final reams of paperwork in the form of “proofs” of the work I do all year as a teacher so that I can receive my “score” (that will designate me as “effective”, “highly effective”, “developing” or really in trouble), and ordering supplies and books for next year, taking everything off the walls, straightening up files, etc etc.
I prefer the have the liveliness of teenagers (spanning ages of 14 – 18, depending on the grade I’m teaching that period) in my classroom. But at the same time, this signals a shift to the different, less harried work of summer. It’s just as demanding, only at a different pace (and with no pay, of course, LOL).
Any real writing I may get to do will take place in the next two months.
But much of that time will be spent trying to “catch up” on all the household things let go all year, carting my own teen here and there and babysitting my new granddaughter, not to mention slowly – always – getting ready for the coming new academic year in the fall, and the six new classes of students I will face each day.
So it is bittersweet to me.
I used to think I’d get used to it over time – but this year marks the completion of my 27th year of teaching, and it’s never changed. I still feel that little flutter of emptiness and that lump of memory of all the lively, engaging, sometimes upsetting but always useful moments that have happened in this space since the first day of September.
And I miss my students.
Today would have been my father, ” Pa’s”, 85th birthday.
Pa was a wonderful man who had a difficult childhood with a loving mother (who hailed from Germany), but an alcoholic father. He spent his first decade growing up during the Great Depression. Life was difficult, and he was forced to drop out of school before graduating…but he valued education, and so he completed his diploma and became the first and only person in his family of origin to earn a Bachelor’s degree. He was almost forty years old when he achieved that goal, but he never gave up. Continue Reading…
I’m at it again tonight…and last night, and tomorrow night, and the night after that. Cinderella once more, likely up until at least midnight all these nights, trying to get caught up with paper work.
Spread over my dining room table is my stack of research papers. There are 50 of them. It’s important, necessary work for students…a process they need for college, to write the papers their professors will require, for presentations their careers may demand, and even life in general, when they need to know how to ferret out meaningful information from the piles of dreck on the inter-webs, read it, understand it, and use it in meaningful ways.
But it’s exhausting to assess and grade. It takes me at least 20 – 25 minutes per paper, because I have to check what’s written against the sources used, to ensure it’s used properly and well, without plagiarizing etc. And it’s not the only paperwork I need to accomplish before quarter averages can be tabulated.
I think I’ve figured out how I get so behind, so that each five week period I end up having to sink at least five nights of 6 – 8 hours of grading into my personal life, after work hours. I’m usually just too drained when I get home from my 8 hour school day working with 92 teenagers to manage a grading session once supper is made and cleaned up, laundry is thrown in, a child’s sporting event is attended, and one-on-one parent/child time is eeked out, among other things.
This Cinderella is getting too old.
Love my students (really, really do). Love teaching and feel incredibly enthusiastic about facilitating their insights, inquiries, and learning.
Can’t hack the paperwork anymore.
Such is life, though, until I retire in another seven years or so.
For right now it’s my lot to turn into a pumpkin on a regular basis. 🙂 I have the will, but now I just need the energy and the time…
Happy Sunday, all. Catch you on the upswing tomorrow when I’m more properly caffeinated.!
Getting in the mood this Saturday night for All Hallow’s Eve, and since Danse Macabre by French composer Camille Saint-Saënsis is one of my favorite classical pieces of music for this time of year, I thought I’d share…I also fondly remember watching this accompanying PBS video in the 1980’s. Does anyone else remember watching this one (in elementary school, or like me, in high school…just because I liked it 🙂 )?
The Struggle is Real…but I have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!
In this modern age (so different from when I began teaching, back in 1988), student grades are submitted electronically, via computer. That means when grades are due on a particular date, they can be submitted up until midnight…at which point the system will lock you out, preventing any further entries.
In my case, the academic year’s first set of five week “progress report” grades were due today (well, technically yesterday at this point).
I am a HS English teacher.
With 92 students per day.
I bring home a LOT of papers, quizzes, reading logs and daily writing journals to read, correct, write suggestions on, and assess, followed by tabulating and entering averages into the computer, along with the variety of helpful comments that are expected and selected by code (i.e. typing in “300” will print out “A pleasure to have in class” on the report that students receive at home).
I am always behind in my paperwork (as in “I can either have clean clothes/see my kids/make dinner for the family/do the dishes/plan lessons/attend one of their sporting events/sleep for seven hours straight once in a while…or whittle away at the ever-growing pile of papers). Add my own fiction (or blog) writing to the mix, which is necessary for my mental health…and well, you get the idea.
It’s a never-ending battle, and a balancing act that tires me more than seven straight hours a day interacting with/facilitating discussions of/serving as sounding board and mediator for masses of young (sometimes hormonal) people ages 14 – 18. Don’t get me wrong: I love my job and adore my students – really and truly. A few get squirrely now and then, but mostly they are great. I feel privileged to work with them…but I HATE the paperwork.
Tonight, at the stroke of midnight, I entered in the last grade. I escaped the wrath of the Guidance Office, who would be calling me in consternation tomorrow morning if they opened the system to run grades and some of mine were missing.
I am Cinderella, and I made it out by the time the clock struck 12. 🙂