You should sleep in later, DramaBoy informed me as we drove the (thankfully much shorter) commute to daycare and work.
I'd like to, but I can't. My work starts early, I replied.
Well, then you should tell them they start too early and they need to start later, he said.
Sometimes I wonder how I ended up in a career where I am routinely up before dawn and starting my day just as most normal people are thinking about crawling out of bed and hopping in the shower. Not for me the leisurely breakfast with the newspaper over a steaming mug of coffee. I forgot to grab a new box of South Beach Cereal Bars this morning, so I had to go begging. My darling mentee S. had a snack pack of chocolate crackers in her cabinet, so at least I won't be taking my pills on an empty stomach. Yesterday that did not go well: between the lack of breakfast and my unfortunate habit of dehydrating myself during the workday, I had a bad reaction to my antibiotics and had to go home early.
Note to self: Drink More Water.
2. I've managed to get a few of my many stacks of papers graded this week, and hopefully more will be done this afternoon. I miss the days of teacher's aides: when the state changed the rules about monitoring TAs and making sure they were actually working, the district discontinued the program. I worked my TAs hard. In fact, I had one student who referred to himself as my "TB"--he said he wasn't the Teacher's Aide, he was the Teacher's B*tch.
So now there is no one to grade the objective quizzes and tests that pile up on my desk, no one to file my papers, no one to decorate my bulletin boards or make posters or tidy my cabinets. I laugh when people say that teachers have it easy, working a measly six- or seven-hour day. That's ignorance talking, so usually I forgive.
Unless they get insulting about it, in which case I have to wrestle with the rage. So far no one's gotten hurt. Much.
3. I still haven't unpacked and organized things at the house and apartment. I'm struggling with decisions, such as where to keep the majority of my clothing and shoes. I think the house is the logical choice, but this means I will have to plan ahead. I'm much more accustomed to waking in the morning and choosing my outfit based on how I feel. Is it a sophisticated sort of day, or am I feeling cute? Skirt or slacks? Jacket or cardigan? Blouse or top? And then there's the issue of accessories. Earrings, rings, necklaces, shoes. I'm an emotional dresser. I think I will have to provide myself with at least two more outfit options than I actually need in order to satisfy my sartorial soul.
4. At some point I need to go coat shopping. I have a snappy little charcoal grey coat from the Gap that will do for daily going-to-work during the winter, but I am lacking a true winter coat for the outdoors. Since DramaBoy is already stating his desire for winter to arrive so he can play in the snow...
You'll get tired of the snow after a little while, I said.
No, I won't! I will love the snow forever and ever! he replied.
...and it looks like I might actually get involved in outdoor activities more often these days, perhaps I should have outerwear that will prevent hypothermia. I may need to invest in a good pair or two of long underwear, not to mention heavy socks and real gloves. Oh, and perhaps a pair of boots that don't have a fancy heel.
Last winter I barely stepped foot outside other than travelling to and from my car. I'm sure that didn't help my depression any. This year I just might breathe some fresh air and have a snowball fight or two. I've heard a rumor that Michigan actually has sun in winter. That vitamin D could do me a world of good.
5. A student thanked me this morning for making him write that horrendous ten-page paper last year that is the annual bane of my sophomores' existence.
I told you so, I said, always the gracious victor.
My sophomores this year have already heard about it. The paper is a good seven or eight months away and they're already groaning.
I love having a reputation as a tough teacher. I don't want to be the teacher students choose because they'll be able to skate through my classes. I want to be the teacher they remember years later, the one they just might send an e-mail or card to, or drop by on a visit, so that they can tell me that as much as they resented the work I made them do, they are grateful for it now.
I do have students who return, however, who sign up for classes on the chance they'll get me again, who visit my classroom and tell me how much they miss having me. It feeds my soul to know I have an impact, that I make a difference. I could not be happy in a career where I felt like I was just a cog in a machine, where if I disappeared no one would know the difference and my position would be filled as if I had never been there. Knowing that at least some of my students see me as a significant person in their lives makes the stress of this job worthwhile.
It even makes getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning bearable. With a cup of coffee, of course.
6. I took the RHETI Enneagram test yesterday on the recommendation of my dear friend Heidi. I've always been a fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a tried-and-true personality assessment I've loved for years. (I'm an XNFJ, for those of you in the know--a combination of INFJ and ENFJ depending on my context.) The Enneagram goes hand-in-hand with the MBTI, really, even asking for one's MBTI type on the RHETI test. It turns out I'm a Type 4, the Individualist, with a secondary emphasis of Type 2, the Helper. Reading the Type 4 description was...eerie. It was as if someone crawled into my head and wrote me down. The Type 2 description is a little more secondary, but still true.
Something written on the Enneagram Institute website caught my attention, because it is true of both my Type 4 and Type 2 aspects, and it says a great deal about why I do what I do:
Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Twos, Threes, and Fours in their inner work is having to face their underlying Center fear of worthlessness. Beneath the surface, all three types fear that they are without value in themselves, and so they must be or do something extraordinary in order to win love and acceptance from others.I cannot express how true this has been for me during my life. Even now, when I am stronger and more self-confidant than I have been in...well, ever! I still struggle to believe that people would love me simply because I am Me, rather than because I am or do something that stands out, that grabs attention, that has a Wow! factor.
Last night Joe told me that he wants to know me just because I am who I am, not because of what I do or can do for him. I want to believe this, but it's difficult. I so often feel like I am insufficient in myself, that I need to do and be More. I'm still learning to love myself, to be content with who I am in the Now.
Where I'm blessed is the many wonderful people in my life who are patient enough to keep telling me this, who are happy to just spend time with me. I was reminded again this morning, when I read a lovely comment from GingerB, a fellow blogger whom I have never met, yet who sent a message of love across the blogosphere.
I love you too, Ginger. I love you all, and I'm so thankful for you all.
I better end my ramblings before I get all mushy and verklempt.
Happy Friday, you wonderful people!