Passing in Philly

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jul 02 2008

B is for Barrising, Balance, and Believes

My old co-worker says it with emphasis. “Em-Barrassing.” His “B” sounds as heavy as his regret. Here are some emBarrassing stats from my first week of institute:

  1. Spent over five hours (and counting) planning one 60 minute lesson plan. I literally take five seconds to plan out every single second of my class period.
  2. Got locked out of my room after taking a shower yesterday. That was sexy…
  3. Unintentionally removed the window-screen from my third-story dorm room window. (At least I did not drop it outside to the ground like some other kid did. His screen is stranded on a lower-level roof. Mine is underneath my bed. So my mistake is only lower-case b embarrassing.)
  4. Got locked out of my room no-less that 24-hours again. Upper-case B.

Aside from these mishaps, things are staying afloat. Not wonderful since I’m sleep deprived and eating cafeteria food on the daily. But things aren’t terrible either. If I can quote my former co-worker again, “nothing is worth getting too worked up over. If you take things easily, they will eventually fall into place.” And I resonate in that. While I still think that being disciplined and a hard worker is important, I don’t believe those qualities should ever consume a person. Especially in your private life.

Another theme I discovered about this whole teaching thing is balance. We balance a lot of things. We balance instructional time with activity time. We balance the classroom to preempt kids with behavioral issues launching a perfect storm. Lastly, we balance our work with our play. I’m trying to make this a rule in my life: never let your work come into your private thoughts. Leave it all in the public domain. Be transparent. Be honest with others and yourself. The latter means working 9-5 and never 9-9 calling it an 8 hour day. It’s harder than you think.

Seeing how close some of my advisers are with their students it makes me excited and worried that I will never stop being a teacher. It’s a permanent role and it’s easy to get caught up mentally. Already I am “sleeping” at 9 pm every night. That is, I am rolling in bed thinking about tomorrow’s lesson plan. Tweaking it. Wondering how Boy-B will react to my opening on plot-driven-poetry. Do teachers ever sleep? I think teachers hate clocks. We’d like to ignore them. We lie to ourselves saying the lesson plan only took 5 hours. It definitely required more. Where’s the balance?

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