Sick day and reflections

Day 2 of congestion, sore throat, fatigue, soreness, and frequent trips to the bathroom. And guilt for throwing my students and whoever their sub is together and essentially saying "here's a worksheet and/or finding something to busy yourselves. be good. see you when i get back."

I've been MIA from my blog because it's been an excellent year so far. I blog when times are rough (and on my birthday), and right now, times are golden. I've been met with so many cheerful students, happy to see me return after the summer. I miss students who graduated and transferred. I have better relationships with students who drove me crazy last year.

I often work 10-12 hour days (still) and 4+ hour weekends (still), but my work days are less emotional and less stressful than years past. Now, come 3:30, I'm ready to continue tutoring/grading/planning/have meetings/call home/attend college fairs with students, and all the things that teachers have to do after the last bell (and often before the first bell).

Oddly enough, I tell myself that I'm prepared enough to go home at an earlier time, and yet I don't. I continue to work, to hone, to try to get just a little bit more done to get a little bit more ahead or to tighten up my lesson plan that a smidgen more. Last year, my friends and coworkers' main concern for me was my well-being; they reminded me to go home at a decent hour, they took me on hikes or for drinks after school, we went out of town for long weekends... This year, it's a new staff and I'm left to take care of myself. As a result... I don't. I work and work and work.

Even the smallest of gratifications from students feeds me. It's addictive. I like hearing from them that they feel cared for in my class, that they're being challenged, that the class is organized, or that they're learning something. This gratification pushes me to work and work and work--be it through impromptu office hours, texts with students asking for help on the homework, or putting together lab activities for the chemistry classes.

This is my first year without a coach to work as closely with me as in the years past. I feel like I'm on an island with only myself and my students. I wish another adult would tell me what I'm doing right, where I need to improve, and give me ideas I hadn't even thought of yet. It's lonely out here.

On the upside, I try to connect with newer teachers and help them in ways that I was helped. Of all the teachers at my school, myself and one other teacher are the most "veteran" with this being our 3rd year as a classroom teacher. Redonks. That's urban ed for you.

More later, time for dinner.