I made a commitment this week to try to do better at being a 40-hour per week teacher. Many teachers — and I’m included — work more than this. I’m usually at school at least 35 hours per week, but I take a lot of work home and am often grading or planning in the evenings and on the weekends. That makes it feel like my job is my life. And while I love teaching, I need to have time away from my profession as well, in order to do fun things and to refresh myself. Living your job is a recipe for burn-out, I think.
So, I just made that commitment on Thursday, and Friday I did a pretty good job of using my time wisely at school. With free moments, I graded tests. After school, I graded written responses to literature my students had read. (I got three of four classes done.) However, I didn’t have my lesson plans turned in to the administration (and I’m late in doing that, since I started teaching this unit before spring break) and I didn’t have detailed ideas on what I’m doing next week.
Add onto this the fact that I haven’t properly cleaned my house in ages (largely because I’ve been doing school work at home), and all that made for a to-do list that felt a mile long.
But I got up this morning, took time to pray, and then got started. I had intended to go for a run first thing, but I didn’t (I can’t even recall what delayed me). But I did get some of the house cleaning done and had the laundry started. It worked out for the best, though, because my running buddy wasn’t available until later, and we ended up going together. And by late morning, I needed a break from the housework. When I returned from the run, I felt more energized and ready to do what was left to be done.
If you look carefully at the list above, you can see that most of the things on the list are crossed off. I got most of it done today.
And then, the dogs gave me some inspiration:
Their naps gave me a great idea. It’s Saturday, it’s cloudy and chilly outside, and I just got a truckload of stuff done. Time for me to take a nap as well. So I curled up on the couch, cuddled under a blanket, and slid into oblivion for a little while. Dogs are smart sometimes.
After I awoke, I folded laundry and put it away, enabling me to cross one more item off the list.
Still, I’m pondering the best ways to be a 40-hour per week teacher. A blog post had inspired me, but most of the writer’s suggestions were specific to teaching elementary school. I’m hoping to make up my own list of ideas and write about it here in a few days.
And if I keep work at work, that means I’ll actually have time to write when I’m at home. I hope.