Monday I mentioned that my helping kids with their speeches would be the most challenging and satisfying work I would do this week. I should have also said it would be the most exhausting. For four 55 minute periods, I strive to be completely present in scores of conversations, ranging from “I don’t know what to do my speech on” to “What if I use a simulated story about my deceased grandma’s view on our right to vote.” And these are rarely quick-question, move-on-to-the-next-person conversations. They are make-and-hold-eye-contact, seek-to-understand, question-to-clarify, maybe-get-lucky-and-inspire-them discussions–one right after another, a constant line until the bell rings. Many even after the bell rings as kids linger wanting more. Most of the time I make them walk and talk with me as I make the way to the staff bathroom on my 5 minute potty break, my 5 minute intermission before the next act begins.
Of course what I would like to do, what I need to do is get caught up on my grading and planning during this “student work time.” But what I like and need take a back seat to what I love: working with kids. So this means I am perpetually behind–sorry parents that I don’t have the latest grades in Skyward yet. I would do it after school or in the evenings but I have others in my life with needs too, others who also deserve my being fully present. But sadly this is a struggle, for I have yet to find the “off switch” and at the end of the day; it stays with me, ever-present in my mind, and my students don’t help.
Last night, Eva gave me homework. “Have my topic for me tomorrow, Sy.” After a number of conversations with miss Eva, and numerous pleas to let me off the hook, she has persisted in seeking my help to find a topic. Of course, I did not make the decision any easier by telling the kids that they had to truly care about their topics, that they had to have “fire in their bellies.” So, it’s partly my fault, and as it goes, last night during my college class when a group of my students are presenting, I find myself distracted with Eva’s topic, and before I know it, I am turning over the grading sheet, scribbling down some ideas for her topic. Alas, it never ends. Never a break. And at the end of the day, I am spent, hoping that my night of sleep is deep, for if I wake up, it begins again. I can’t remember my last deep sleep.
But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not sure I have a choice. Eva gave me homework.
Happy Wednesday, all. Thank you for your support.