Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taking a breath

I feel like I've been running since the first week in September. Because my day job is teaching, classes started up and life moved into high gear.

Especially this year. I'm teaching five classes with five preps and my head is spinning by the end of the day. On the downside, I have a whole bunch of work before (and after) each class. On the upside, I don't have 121 versions of the same essay to grade. :)

That, above all, is what makes this particular teaching load manageable. Every course I teach has a major writing component to it, so there is a lot of student writing to look at. When I taught six sections of only one subject, I'd give an assignment and then have an entire stack of papers all on the same topic. By the end of the thirtieth paper, I was ready to find a convenient staircase and throw them down the stairs (that was a running joke in teacher-school: the papers that landed at the bottom got failing grades, those at the top, higher ones. No, NO ONE ACTUALLY DOES IT! It was just wishful thinking on the part of English teachers vs the work say, math teachers had in grading papers).

Having five preps isn't so bad on the grading side. I can look at a stack of twenty-five term papers and not feel overwhelmed. It's manageable. Especially since it takes between 15-20 minutes per paper. The students are always surprised by the fact that I spend that much time on his/her paper. My stock response is, "How long did it take you to write it? How many hours did you spend on this? Don't you think it deserves more than just a cursory glance?" They usually grin and nod.

And then there's my dad. He had a Crohn's flare-up at the beginning of October and it looked pretty bad for a while. I've learned I don't write well when death is standing too near one of my family members, so all the pieces I was working on got set aside as he recovered. Now he's in rehab and doing so well they stopped the physical therapy this past week 'cause he's walking just fine (doesn't even need a cane, let alone a walker) and pretty far along the road to normal.

Except the wound isn't healing as well as they'd like. As a result, he's still there and bored to tears. I try to spend as many evenings with him as I can, which, I'm afraid, are not nearly as many as I'd like. Another direction in which to be pulled.

So today, I'm taking a breath. The sun is shining (finally! I'm in the Finger Lakes and, while we were only brushed by Sandy here - another stress! - there has been precious little sunshine for the last two weeks). I have bananas that have gone black, tomatoes that are beginning to rot, layers of dust on my furniture and winter clothes I still haven't gotten down from the attic.

And that's my day today. I'm staying home, enjoying the sunshine and nesting. I'm going to bake banana bread, make spaghetti sauce and pull out my winter wardrobe. In addition, I'm going to vacuum the house, gather up the dust bunnies and rake leaves.

Just as soon as I have a cup of cocoa and watch the morning sun...

Play safe!

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