I still have a pile of journals to read, papers to correct, and grades to put online. This is not even beginning to mention what there is still left to do to prepare lessons for a class of 28 students in the morning.
Yet, tonight I write. Why? Because tomorrow (or rather, today) is my day to post, and this is something that I committed to do. Since I made a promise to myself, I plan to follow through unless I am dead, dying, or incapacitated.
As of right now, I am none of these.
I drove into my parking stall around 7:00 tonight and gathered up my various odd and ends. I immediately set about getting as many things done as I could. Yet, despite my best efforts, the pile of ‘have-tos’ and ‘better-get-tos’ all screamed from their varied positions on the kitchen counter, and I found myself inundated up to the eyeballs. All too often I find myself drowning in a sea of work, to which there is no foreseeable end.
Episodes of The X Files were put on hold as I plowed away at the mountains of papers set before me. Finally, I decided that I needed to stop. The clock was rolling past 10:00 and I knew that if I didn’t get a bit of sleep, I’d regret it in the morning and be just about as worthless as the sun above clouds and rainbows at midnight.
Yeah, you get what I’m talking about.
I decided to read over just a few more students' journal entries before stopping for the evening. As I did, I found myself musing over the snapshots of moments and snippets of their lives. I laughed at the antics over the weekend with friends. I smiled as I read over their lists of favorite books to read. I marveled at their family weekend trips. I felt a sense of despondency when I read about the death of a loved grandfather.
One hundred million little insights into their individual lives.
I picked up one journal and commenced reading.
This was a good one to read.
Instead of trying to summarize this boy’s thoughts, I present it here. Just know this…as I read over what he’d written, the hours of extra work seemed worth it. The irate parents I’d dealt with didn’t seem quite so bad. The lack of sleep over the past week seemed not quite so tiring.
This, my friends, is what teaching is all about.
P.S. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, but rather sharing that – more often than not – sometimes the thing we need the most to recharge our batteries is right there in front of us simply disguised as more work.