Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Running on Empty

I'm running out of gas, and quickly. After 73 consecutive days of everyday blogging, I fear that my time to blog every day is about to run out, too.

Let me give you an idea of what my day is like. I am up at 4:30 each morning. After a little light reading, I get on my bike and ride for half an hour. After ten minutes of cooling down, I get my shower in, and get my breakfast and whatever I'm having for lunch ready. I say my goodbyes to Magi and Sera as they leave for school, and I get my after school snacks ready for my after school job. We use snacks as a motivator and purchase them out of my own pocket.

I get to my school usually by 6:45-6:50 depending on traffic, and check my email and google reader blogs while I eat breakfast, which is nearly always a cup of vanilla yogurt with about a dozen red seedless grapes, and topped with a third of a cup of granola. At 7:15 I go to the front of the school for morning bus duty. This morning I helped to break up a fight, only after I mistook one of my colleagues for a fighting student and lifted him up by his hoodie. When I saw that the "kid" that I had picked up had a hold of two other kids, I realized my mistake. Oops. You'll probably see that on YouTube tonight. Kids were whipping out their cell phones when the fight broke out.

At 7:30, I'm back in the building to check my mailbox and head back to my room to prepare for classes. Today I didn't get to prepare for classes, since we had to spend our prep time learning about reading strategies. Yes, I know I'm a math teacher. I especially enjoyed the unit we did on poetry. It was completely applicable to nothing I need to do in the classroom.

After two and a half periods of teaching kids about dividing exponential expressions and the meaning of zero and negative exponents, it's time for lunch. I have 30 minutes to go to the bathroom, and either prepare or fetch my lunch and eat it. Today I had salad from the cafeteria, the one thing they make that isn't packed with so much sodium that it would raise my blood pressure 50 points. When fourth period resumed 30 minutes later, the kids worked on their assignment and I checked my email again.

We had shortened periods today to fit in what we call Success Period, a 75-minute period designed to give students the opportunity to participate in club activities. If, like me, you don't sponsor a club you get 25+ unmotivated kids to supervise in your classroom, and they tend not to be the most enthusiastic students.

When school is dismissed at 3:00, I bolt out the door to make the 15-minute trip across town to my afterschool job at Memorial High School. I switch out my lunch cooler for my snack cooler and with luck, one of my students is waiting for me with the door nearest my classroom open. They don't trust teachers with keys to their school, and especially guest teachers like me. The other math teacher in the program had an appointment after school today, so I got to teach her students as well as my own. When these students are released at 5:25, I am out the door and home by 5:35.

I have just enough time to go to the bathroom and fire up the grill to cook the pork steaks that Magi has prepared for dinner. While the pork is cooking, Sera and I play outside on her swings. Ten minutes later, we eat dinner and I check my home email on my Blackberry. After dinner, it's time to put Sera to bed. After she's in bed at 8:00, I get a few minutes to relax, respond to any emails I've received, check Facebook, and make my Wordscraper (Facebook's Scrabble) move in the game Magi and I have going.

Then I write my blog post and go to bed. See why I'm wearing down?


Michael O'Connell said...

Wow. And I have trouble doing it daily being single and having no job...

Congrats on the amazing effort this year in blogging, all that considered. Much as I enjoy reading your entries, I would certainly understand if they had to stop happening daily. But they're always a welcome distraction when they happen! So at least you'll have the validation of knowing they'd be missed. :)

Jim McClain said...

Thanks, Mike! As long as I keep finding things to write about, I'll keep doing it. I actually felt bad the other day when I heard about George Kell's death, because the first fleeting thought I had when I heard was, "Hey, something to write about today!"