-woke later than usual but early enough to enjoy a long stretch of a day ahead of me,
-gave myself a pedicure,
-finished a good book that I started weeks ago but hadn't had the time to continue,
-listened to my favorite podcasts (and learned a lot)
Later, I will:
-lesson plan and grade at a leisurely pace without the fatigue of an entire day of teaching
Welp, I had a pretty good run with consecutive days of non-absences. That count has restarted. For the first time, I'm not sitting at home sick with guilt for being absent. The difference, this time, is I know I've done everything I can and I'm just so tired. In the past, I had led fear and an unwillingness to try out half-baked lessons keep me from school. This time, I'm just very, very tired.
At that, I still felt guilty because if I'm tired, what more of my coworkers and the administration? What right do I have to take a break? ...and then I realized, oh yeah, they've all taken at least once break already. And I'm the only first year teacher on staff. I'm at least as tired as everyone else--may be more so.
One lesson I'm ruminating over right now is that to go consecutive days without being absent as a teacher in, say, suburban San Diego is quite different from going without breaks at my school now. I'm allowed to take absences and I should take them because I don't want to burn out. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
I made it to 29 consecutive work days without. Glancing at the school calendar, there will never again be as long of a stretch of work without holiday. So in a way, I made it through the toughest stretch of work!
I downloaded an app so that I can have a few countdowns to look forward to. On the horizon: a Thanksgiving New England trip and a Christmas trip to Hawaii. I've been planning for those trips since June. Now that it's October (and despite the fact that these countdown trips have not yet taken place), I'm dreaming up my next trip in the Spring. I've narrowed it down to Central America or Iceland, though I'm still open to new nominations.
Right now, I'm in awe of the fact that I'm in my real first year as a full-time teacher where I am. In the rare moments that I give myself credit for what I do, I realize what an enormous task it is to try to step into this gap that society as a whole for hundreds of years has yet to close. At best, I'm working towards closing that gap, micometer by micrometer. At worst, we're all just sitting in this gap together with nothing changing. I don't think I'm in that worst case scenario though. I think I am making some kind of difference.
Next year, two years from now, and 10 years from now, I want to look back on today and on this past year and be like "damn. How did I do that?" Though I hear that second and third year are still really hard, for now, I'm telling myself that it doesn't get any harder than this. And I'm thriving. That fact is pretty awesome on my part, though it doesn't feel like that all the time.
It sometimes gets lonely as the only first-year teacher at my school. Furthermore, all of the other teachers from my teaching credential cohort are in their fourth year of teaching. They've all hit their stride. I'm glad that I have them (amongst many other people) to turn to for their wisdom and as an example of how I want to be a few years from now. At the same time... sometimes, I wish I had someone to empathize with me in real time. It's impossible to talk about my day-to-day with non-teacher friends. It's even harder to talk about my day-to-day with teacher friends who teach at very different schools from mine because these are people who really believe that they understand how I feel, but I don't think that they do.
Anyway, that's all for now. I feel cleansed after that blogging purge, as I always do. Time to indulge a bit more in my day before returning to work.