GUEST BLOGGER: JANELLE
As I was getting ready for school to start this year, I hung a sign on my classroom wall that a friend gave me a few years ago. "Simplify". I decided that this would be my code to live by during the school year. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and want to create great lessons and experiences for my students, so I spend a lot of time at school. Unfortunately, I do not have enough hours in the day to do all the things I would like to do at work and keep a balance in my life.
Enter first day of school. I began the school year already falling "behind" as I wasn't able to have everything done that I wanted to before the daily demands of a teacher's life took over. But you can't stop time. Or beg for just one more week. I tried it. The clock just kept ticking.
Ever since then, I have been working a lot of overtime hours and bringing work home in the evenings and on the weekends, and feeling like one of those cartoon characters who is running so fast their feet are a blur but they aren't moving anywhere - all they are doing is creating a big hole to sink down into. Rather than "catching up", I have barely been getting the things done I need to from day to day, with more and more being added to the "back burner" for a "later" that never comes. I have tried to figure out why this is. Certainly there is more than ever expected of teachers, as we deal with larger class sizes and less prep time (1 1/2 hours a week when you are teaching at least 8 lessons a day just doesn't quite cut it). But also I think I underestimated the amount of time it would take to get my feet under me in a new grade.
Well, this week I came to the point where I realized living like this has got to stop. I am tired (literally) of not getting enough sleep and having to drink a Diet Coke to get through a day. I am tired of never having any real down time during the week. I am tired of extra responsibilities at work that take away from my classroom preparation. I am tired of feeling scatterbrained and forgetting and misplacing things. I am tired of always rushing around and ending up being late anyway. I am tired of a seriously cluttered house and car that I don't have time to clean. I am tired of not leaving work at work. I am tired of not having time or energy to exercise or read my scriptures or go to the temple. Can you tell I am just tired?
So, anyway, back to the code, "Simplify", which I have forgotten in the mad rush of school starting. A couple of friends this week have reminded me to take a step back and figure out what I can do to lighten the load. How I can chip away at the mountains of "back burner" items that constantly weigh on my mind. And they have reminded me to not take life so seriously. Take time to go for a drive. To go out to eat. To laugh. To stay in bed on a Saturday morning and read a book. To get a massage. That it is OK to let go of some things, even though they might be good things.
I am going to simplify my life. Starting now.