Saturday, August 1, 2009

Waking Up is Hard to Do

This week has been a tough one. It was the first week back at work after our short summer break. No kids. Just faculty and staff. We worked hard preparing to give the kids the best kick off to a new year that we can.

Seeing the class schedules for the first time is always traumatic. My school has increased by well over 200 kids since I first arrived there 7 years ago. That means lots more classes to teach and lots less time to prepare for each one. The first schedule that came out this week had me teaching five classes of one hour each, back to back on Mondays. No bathroom breaks. No lunch breaks. No time to set up supplies between classes. On the days that I had Art Club, that would mean six and a half hours with no down time at all. Other days were not much better. I know that schedules go through many incarnations, with the first one being the worst one, but this set me on a stressful path for the rest of the week.

All I could concentrate on for the rest of the week was how I was going to be so tired teaching a schedule like this, that I would be the grouchiest teacher ever. Don't get me wrong. I adore kids. I can't imagine a more perfect job for me than this, but come on!!! Everyone needs a little down time. Or at least a chance to go to the bathroom now and then. There was not one night this past week that I didn't wake up for a few hours in the middle of the night. Once I woke up, my brain would wake up and start tormenting me about how miserable a teacher I would be this year.

My administrators are reasonable and kind people. They tweaked the schedule multiple times to try and help me out. It is a tiny bit better at this point. They promised to work on it this coming week to give me more time to prepare, plan, and, well, pee, but with limited resources and limited time there is not a lot they can do. I'm trying to be optimistic about the whole thing, but I think that one way or the other, this is going to be a tough, tough year.

As my art teacher friends are getting jazzed about implementing new ideas in their classrooms, I'm trying to figure out how to survive in mine.

scherenschnitte 5" x 7"


Flash said...

This scherenschitte scene ROCKS!

So blessed! said...

Hey friend,

Love the snip. I too am a teacher and am trying to gear up for my
25th year. It definitely takes a whole lotta energy...even with lunch, pee breaks, and plan time. WOW, I will be praying that you will get a better schedule.
Have a great year!
Hugs from TExas.

Diana said...

What, no bathroom breaks? Adult nappies might be in order Jan! There is no way I could survive that schedule - totally ridiculous!
It seems your snips aren't suffering though. Your silhouettes and this bed snip are fabulous.

Sarah / Bee House Hives said...

Your talent made quite an impression on me a while back. I think it was Diane from Macville Rd. that send a link. Anyhow, I was thinking of you when I spotted a book this weekend at a yard sale..
Creating with Paper by Pauline Johnson 1958 University of Washington Press.
I thought I would tell you about it - maybe you have already heard of it. Just the introduction alone is a great read- all about the history of paper.
Your work is amazing and inspiring and I always look forward to see what you are up to next.

Unlimited said...

My darling, awe-inspiring school friend,
I hope that our brains rest for a slumber before we start this crazy year! I wish you well with your schedule. And I look forward to even those brief moments when I see you scurrying past me in the hallways to make it to the ladies room. Good luck.

PS. This is my all-time favorite snip.

Chan Bliss said...

Seeing the schedule for the first time each year is always an adventure. Because of budget cuts this year my district "suggested" that elementary art schedules be 8 or 9 30 minute classes a day. That wold be for me about 800 kids a week. That seemed a little excessive to me so earlier in the summer I talked to my administration about doing 5 one hour classes every other week. The kids still get less art time each year but they will get a good block of time to work on their art when they are in the classroom. But then I know this schedule will all change after 20 days of school and we add all the new students teachers and classes to the schedule. Ya just gotta go with the flow.

Pink Feather Paradise said...

I love the snip and good luck with your schedule re-jigging... I hope they sort it out for you..

hugs Alex

Cindy said...

I hope it all works out for the best, for you and the students. That's a great snip by the way, one of my faves since I've been paying attention.

Susan Tuttle said...

i wish you a happy and successful school year!

jackie said...

I adore this papercut!!
Your post just reminded me of how tough it is to be a teacher in this economic atmosphere (well, really any time). As I was reading through your schedule it made me groan, and I know what a dedicated devoted teacher you are. But really everyone needs a chance to pee for Pete's sake. I just talked to a teacher friend of mine here and she said she has been putting in 14 hour days, and she's exhausted and wondering how she's going to manage.
Hang in there sugar!