Despite previous bouts of self-doubt and concern, I feel like my aides and I are finally starting to gel. Weekly AIMSweb progress monitoring has given me solid data that my students are making progress in both reading and math; my district’s special services director just informed me I’m getting a SMARTBoard this week; and somehow I’m still alive after a month of juggling writing lesson plans, doing paperwork, being a part of committees, and finishing up grad school.
Yeah, I’d say things are going pretty awesome right now. I know you’re thinking I just cursed myself as soon as I typed those words. I think so, too. But aside from that, I will share with you my biggest worry. My absolute biggest worry at the moment is that there’s no hope for balance in my life.
I wake up at 5:25 every morning and leave my apartment by 6:02. I walk on over to Phoenix’s Central Station (certainly not as grand as NYC’s Central Station, but I can pretend) and hop on the 12 going north. I’m usually at school by about 6:37 and school starts at 8 a.m.
I don’t eat lunch because I have at least one student in my room at all times. My last student leaves at 3 p.m. From there, I go to meetings; develop lesson plans; and prepare for a ridiculous number of observations, each of which require me to write six-page lesson plans. If it’s Monday night, I go to my own class until almost 10 p.m. And even when I don’t have grad school, I’m usually not home until 6 or 7 p.m.
Typing it all out now, I think my life is a little ridiculous. I’m definitely not saying I don’t enjoy life—I really do. And I know I’m not going out on a limb by saying that most first-year teachers spend a whole lot of time at school. But I’m also not going out on a limb when I conclude that I need a little balance in my life, right?
I mean, I’ve always been told that we should work to live, not live to work. And from what I’ve read, Generation Y-ers (like me) have, in a sense, rebelled against our parents’ values and their work-focused lives. As a generation, we focus more on enjoying our work and, as a whole, focus less on salary and status.
So if all that is true and I really do enjoy my job and staying at school all hours of the day and perhaps night . . . should I really take up running again? What do you think? Keep in mind, I have no kids and my husband is deployed.
On a broader level, how do you define balance in your life? How do you keep your life “balanced”? Is balance even truly possible when you’re a teacher?