I used to have the Nuke LaLoosh dream.
But these days, the dream is different. Think Joel Goodson walking into his testing room for the SAT with two minutes left on the clock. Out of time. (Video NSFW, obvi).
The other day I was up at 3 am. Tossing and turning. Toss twice, turn three times. Mind weighed down with a to-do list unfinished. If you made a word cloud of the conversations with my fellow newbies at my new school, the most prominent word would be “overwhelmed”. Going from running on autopilot for 11 years to having to figure out where the bathrooms are and how to get copies made, we all feel like we’re going a million miles an hour. More than one person has said it feels like learning to teach all over again.
Which, as one of my colleagues pointed out, can be a good thing.
But it’s turning my hair grey.
I’ve always been serious about lesson planning. But now, I’m learning Canvas on the fly. Lessons get planned, and posted. On the daily. My IED class is already set up on Canvas, all I had to do was import, which was a gift. And I keep reminding myself, I’m building a course for the out years – every thing I do today will be there this time next year. I can tweak as needed, but I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And Canvas is an awesome e-locker, for my students and for me. “What did I miss yesterday, Mr. Dull?”
Unless it needs reinventing.
But man, every day after work it feels like I’m keeping the wolves from the door for one more day.
Funny thing is, I get daily feedback from my students. As far as they know, I’m cooking with gas. The teaching part is not a problem. But I still feel like I’m buried 6 feet underground, breathing through a straw. I know everything is going to slow down for me eventually. Soon, I hope.
I’m still using Ike’s plan for prioritizing work. Still seems to be working too. “What’s next?”, as President Bartlett would say. But I’m also trying to take time to notice how much is too much, and to stay in my lane. I was reminded of these tactics earlier this week when I ran across Mother Teresa’s daily plan for her Missionaries of Charity (courtesy Jen Fulwiler).
And yes, I read Catholic Mommy Blogs. Don’t judge.
Anyway, you might have guessed that St. Teresa of Calcutta didn’t overschedule her sisters, built in time for personal care and prayer life, even a tea break. As Fulwiler points out, the Missionaries of Charity exist to serve the poor, and that was scheduled in two big blocks during the day. Only.
A million thoughts flooded to mind, but here are the big ones:
- The primary work of the Order, serving the poor, only takes place between 8:00 – 12:30 and 4:30 – 7:30.
- There’s buffer! Notice that time for meal cleanup and getting dressed is built in to the schedule.
- They say that their lives are centered on God, and this schedule reflects it. There is time dedicated to prayer each day.
- They have a set (and early) bedtime, making time for sleep even if they feel like more work could be done.
- Look at how focused this schedule is! They only attempt to do two things: pray and work for the poor.
I don’t think my personal daily plan will ever look like that. But, big picture, I have a little bit of a groove going, with lesson posted in Canvas, notes recap recorded and posted, and handouts printed all at the end of the school day before I leave for home. I still don’t know where marathon training fits in tho. And that “early bedtime” thing is never gonna happen.
But I think I can get better at prioritizing and focusing. You might even say it’s on my To-Do list.