The Longest Week: Teacher Snapshots

[Fact: essays breed like rabbits] 

For some reason parent-teacher conference week is always insane. I don't feel obligated to have everything graded (I am not a magician), as I always have plenty of grades in my grade book to show how my kids are doing (as of right now, for about ten weeks of school, I have thirty in for each kid). It usually ends up that we're finishing one book and starting another, so the onslaught of end-of-the-book essays, tests, and assignments is ridiculous. At the same time I'm also prepping to start a new work, so the workload intensifies. We always have book club the day of conferences, since we can actually go out to lunch (typically we get just thirty-five minutes, which makes leaving campus is impossible), so I'm usually rushing to finish the book up to, and this week was no exception. 

I think there are many, many people out there that simply don't realize what it takes to be a teacher (although there are plenty who do). While we're at work our mental and emotional capacities are stretched so thin, needing to tend to several things and people at once from the moment we get there to the moment we can get out the door. While we're at home we have our own lives, but we also have to wrestle with the silent expectations that we will get done everything we didn't get to while actually at work. My contractual day is 7.5 hours, but I put in many, many more hours than that, on the low end eight extra, on a harder week nearly twenty (as do all of my colleagues). I'm not trying to complain, because I really do love my job and would walk on fire for my students. But the idea that it's all summer vacations, leisurely afternoons at home before those with 9-5s, and that we can "just give them all Bs" is just so totally wrong and frustrating. 

Motivated by some contractual issues we have right now with our union and district, and by my own love of seeing the daily lives of others, I decided to take some really boring, but really accurate pictures of what a crazy week looks like for an English teacher. 

[I start every single morning with a to-do list]

[that new Keurig is hard hard at work]

[afternoon meeting on things I already know]

[re-doing bulletin boards]

[when I swear at work]

[every single night for the past 10 or so days]

[it's always nice to meet with families, as much
as the lead up can be rough]

[trying to get it allll done before Thanksgiving break]

[we get to leave 2.5 hours early the day after
conferences so I took myself to lunch]

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

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It's parent-teacher conference eve, which means my evening is spent frantically getting my grade book in order, finishing the book club book for our meeting tomorrow (I do this basically EVERY time, I'm as bad as my students!), and trying to get in a stress-relieving run. Please feel free to link up below and enjoy everyone else's posts (which are always so great, but I suck at life and always read them on my phone, which for some reason makes commenting hard). 

The Reading Situation

What I'm Currently Reading:
Evicted by Matthew Desmond- This is for book club and while it's really important and infuriating, it's also really depressing, which isn't doing anything for my mood.

So many papers- This is typically one of the craziest weeks of the year for me; parent-teacher conferences always coincides with the ending of a work-of-study (this time Macbeth), so I'm buried. Imagine someone (me), being buried in the sand up to their nose, but pretend the sand is now essays and assignments. 

Halloween children's books- Sawyer has a few that he loves and he's super pumped to trick-or-treat this year, so we've been reading them quite frequently.

Articles on how much water sprinklers use- Fun story: I received my water bill today and it had gone up a lot. I panicked, thinking that we have a leak somewhere slowly destroying our foundation or inner walls. THERE GOES MY TRAVEL FUND. I then remembered we have had some sprinkler repairs, so I got swallowed by landscaping articles. An hour or two later my husband came home and reminded me we had increased our outdoor watering by two days a week. And there you have it. 

What I Actually Want to Be Reading:

Banff, Jasper & Glacier National Parks Lonely Planet Guide- I want to reserve the hotels for next summer in the next week. I need to plan and overwhelm myself with information! 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng- I read about thirty pages of this and then put it on the back burner for everything else. It was such a tease.

Recent Acquisitions

The Accusation by Bandi- Stories out of North Korea

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander- Clearly the political and social climate of the country and world are influencing my reading. 


You Are Not  a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett- This collection of short stories is quite old, but I had no idea he had written so much else!

Good Without God by Greg Epstein- Religion is hard. 

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward- All the cool kids are doing it.

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

[spotted on the way to preschool]

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Ten things I've done lately:

1. Went to Knott's Berry Farm with Sawyer and Scott over the weekend. It had been a decade since I'd gone and it was Sawyer's first time- we had a blast! Tickets are cheap if you buy them online and then for like ten bucks more than a regular gate ticket you can upgrade to an annual pass, so I did. The park is so much more affordable and less busy that Disneyland, so it will be fun option for Sawyer and I. 

[confession: I ate an entire boysenberry funnel cake at Knott's]

2. Bite my tongue, many, many times. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes I think I let people get away with things. 

3. Take Sawyer out cruising on his scooter. He's getting good! 

4. Have bad dreams. The other night I dreamt that I was late to a morning meeting and when I got to preschool to drop Sawyer off I realized I had left him upstairs with Scott and was two hours late to something important. 

5. Decide to take the plunge and book the lodging for our summer vacation. I hope to do it in the next few days and will do the flights later (we are going to Banff in Canada!). I always have a reason to possibly put off a large trip (intimidated by schlepping around a car seat alone in an airport, my financial conservatism, etc...). I need something super awesome to look forward to. Plus the idea of getting my three-year-old a passport is equal parts awesome and weird to me (I got my first one when I was in my mid-twenties!). 

6. Cancel my tickets to the Jennifer Egan reading next week, since it's on parent-teacher conference night. Womp womp womp.

7. Run and run and run. I have a 10k on Sunday and while I don't have major hopes of doing amazing, I am fairly confident I will manage okay for where I am at right now. The biggest issue I am having right now is the fact that while this hobby makes me feel fit and less stressed, it also makes me more tired than I already am.

8. Make very slow process on reading Evicted for book club next week. 

9. Bought a new comforter for the guest bedroom- my mom is coming in to town next weekend and my mother-in-law the weekend after (Sawyer will be in heaven! So many grandmas!). Guess where the comforter is? In the bags, on the floor, because there's so much crap on the actual bed. Sigh. 

10. Worry about the fires. The Canyon 2 fire is about thirty minutes away from us, so while we aren't at risk it's been so upsetting seeing people so close lose their homes and not be able to get past evacuation boundaries. The fires upstate are far, far worse and even more devastating. I think the common perception was that California would have an easier fire season because we had so much rain last winter. In reality, the rain catalyzed a ton of growth, when then naturally dried out during the hot summer. And here we are. 

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts

Happy Wednesday! Link up, link back, say hey!

1. I bought myself a little Keurig for my classroom and it way the best decision I've made in a long time. Why did it take so long? My room is freezing and I'm always tired- now I can be warm and artificially awake. It's a win-win.

2. I recently stayed Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere, which I am liking so far, but I think I will have to put it on the back burner so I can read Evicted for book club in two weeks. I've heard mixed reviews, so I've been dragging my feet on starting. 

3. I also need to start rereading Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family, since that's what we're reading next, now that our study of Macbeth it finally over. I have grown to love the play, but we're approaching two months, which is more than enough on any work, as far as I'm concerned. 

4. I finished my last audiobook and was really stumped on my next selection. On a whim I downloaded What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman, a travel memoir. So far it's pretty entertaining and perfect for the car. 

5. This weekend is going to be a busy one! Saturday we have Sawyer's pumpkin patch for preschool and a community safety event nearby that has emergency vehicles on display (I have a three-year-old, free things like this make him very happy). Sunday, if the weather is cool enough, the three of us are going to head to Knott's Berry Farm. And somewhere in there I plan to make croissants, clean my house, run 5 or 6 miles, and grade 57439439573 papers. Gimme all the coffee. 

Now for the serious business:

6. Now is the time to talk about gun control. Actually, years and years ago was the time to talk about and act on it. Why the hell do civilians need assault rifles? Why would they ever need a silencer? Why do they need dozens of weapons? Fine, have your one or two shotguns after you've passed extensive background to go shoot ducks or whatever out in the country, if that's your thing. I'm not saying no guns ever. What I am saying is that we need some massive reform and we needed it years ago. 

7. Puerto Rico is a mother-effing mess and those people are Americans. And is now, when they're hungry and thirsty and dying, really the time to deliver guilt trips about the budget, which they contribute to financially? I think not. So stop throwing paper towels at these poor people and get them the support they need. 

8. How did the day come where Rex Tillerson looks... somewhat qualified? How is he the voice of reason?