As One Snow Day Ends, the Phone Rings…AND…

I get to sleep in tomorrow!  Hallelujah!  I type this as the Boy fusses at the Girl over the chocolate chip cookies they are currently baking and after a day of doors slamming and sleds falling and the dog going to the door to be let out so he can bay and howl and fuss at the neighbors who are daring to drive over several inches of thawing snow that will soon re-freeze into ice.

And I love it.  I love seeing the negative impression of random snowflakes against the burnt sienna-green of pine trees waiting to re-awaken.  I love the thrumming sound of my heater going through its cyclonic revolutions as it pushes warm air into my home.  I love the fact that my Teacher-Bag has been emptied and re-filled with graded papers.

I love the fact that I have graded fifteen papers today and still have the energy to grade…maybe…some more. Not fifteen.  Don’t ask about how many more I may or may not grade.  I don’t care.  I have tomorrow to continue the odyssey of grading.

Today has been a day of music enjoying….I turned on my iTunes account, turned it on to random, and just let the music sweep over and around me.  Starting with Alyson Kraus’s “You Will Be My Ain’ True Love” and then moving into Pink Floyd; the Civil Wars; Mumford and Sons; Queen; a Swedish organist (I think she’s Swedish); Yann Tiersen’s soundtrack to Amelie; to the soundtracks to Hunger Games, Hunger Games:  Catching Fire, to Twilight (Hey, I like the songs…they’re pretty good!  Dag nabbit!  Don’t judge me!), this has been a day of music and grading and quiet and noise.  I have been terribly unfocused and completely at peace with the fact that I have still been terribly unfocused.  I have moved through six or seven inches of paperwork not including the digital files that I have been plowing through (ha!  Snow pun!).

Friday may or may not be a teacher workday.  My conundrum is whether or not to go in given that I have been…grading for the last two days during which I have actually been soft-of-off.  I don’t care.  I feel a little liberated.  The weight of grades and my students’ needs is lifted as I relax into the reality that I have a little less work to worry about.  Just a little less.

And if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to work out tomorrow.  That would also be lovely as I need to get ready to go on a 50 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail this summer.  At this stage of my body’s existence, I need to work out.  I need to continue making the changes that I have been making.

Humpback Rocks August 2010 pic 22

The Boy at Humpback Rocks which is right off/on/by the Appalachian Trail.

My Beloved Rotten Snake Corpse is acting Corpse-Like right now.  He is making Beaker-faces (think of the Muppets) and is really getting me to the point where I think I might throw something at him.  I’d throw my shoe but I might hurt my shoe on that man’s head.  I truly believe that he has a skull like a sheep…thick, impenetrable, and incapable of being hurt.  Oh…wait…I might be talking about his heart.

Ah, sarcasm.

Snow days are lovely simply because I can sleep past 5:25 AM and then work at my own pace without having to justify my existence to others.  In some respects, I wonder if this is what the professional world is like.  I know that wearing my ugly, brown, fleece shirt as a light jacket over a t-shirt is not high on the professional-attire scale.  But, if I have to go to the bathroom, I don’t have to hope that an emergency will not happen while my students are unsupervised.  Sorry-not-sorry, but after having the Boy and then the Girl using my bladder as a trampoline a decade ago has made it so that “potty emergencies” (Animanics) is not something to be ignored.

In my quest for people to understand the life of a teacher, I want to make comparisons to the professional world.  However, I have no real knowledge of the professional world. I know that my clothing collection would not pass for what is considered professional.  I love my Dansko shoes, but they are not definitely not in the professional dress category.  They are definitely in the “I-Will-Walk-After-Wearing-These-Eight-Hours” category.  I look at my sister-in-law who is definitely in the professional realm and I have the absolute highest respect for her.  For several years, she commuted three hours to get to her work sites.  And that doesn’t include the travel literally around the world.  I envied her that she had gone to China, until I learned that her experience in China had nothing to do with seeing the country but, instead, the inside of conference rooms and office suites.

Teachers constantly talk about how they are not treated as professionals.  And I am among those who say this.  But I also question how much they/we….I know about the professional world.  I have no idea how often professionals have to sign-in or sign-out in a book to document when they are leaving or returning from their worksites.  I have no idea what it’s like to work for commission.  On these snow days, I will still be paid, even if I hadn’t spent about twelve or so hours plugged into my computer and attempting to get work done.  I treat my students like they are my clients, but I don’t have to worry about my clients leaving me in order to find a better deal.  I don’t have to worry about the loss of income if students drop my class or complain about me to their friends.  Word of mouth doesn’t nearly affect me so much as it does in the professional world.

How much “CYA” exists in the professional world?  I have taught business writing and talk about how “If you don’t want it to be read, then don’t write it.”  I talk about Enron and how the company was brought down because of emails.  And I feel like I live by this.  Thirty years ago, when I was in middle school, the teacher was right and I was wrong.  I had to justify myself if I got in trouble (I never really got in trouble, though…but…still…the teacher was always right).  Nowadays, I feel like I have to document every time I scratch my butt, blink an eye, or sniff up a slug of snot.  Yeah, that’s gross.  But that’s how watched I feel.  It’s not just that the students have cell phones and are more than happy to record and post everything I do.  It’s because in my lesson plans I have to document the following:  what I do, what level of Bloom’s Taxonomy it is, what style of assessment is being used (formative or summative), what professional development I am using for inspiration, what Tier I am using to reach the most amount of students the most effectively, what SOL’s I am covering, and how many minutes I am doing for each.  Am I complaining?  Maybe….a little.  More so just kind of sounding off.


Not the Eye of Sauron…’tis the Eye of the Girl. This is much worse.

But what do adults in the professional world do?  I know that they have to feel something like this.  I know that I can’t be alone or that teachers are all that isolated in our sense of….entrapment (right word?).

I know that I want to be treated like a professional.  However, as I reflect on what I have written…do I even know what a professional is?

Wow…talk about humble pie. I think I’ll go back to grading essays.  I know what I’m doing there.

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