Gazing at the array of cheeses at Trader Joe’s this morning, I was pulled out of my decision making process by a high pitched whining. A frazzled looking woman was staring into her grocery cart, running through her mental checklist, trying to remember if she had forgotten anything.
Impatiently vying for her attention were two little boys, one of which was the source of the whining. He was using a banana to poke her repeatedly in the leg. The other was edging slowly away toward the baked goods display, his eye on an alluring box of sugar cookies. As I smiled at their antics, endearing only because I was removed from them, I was thankful for my child-free weekend.
This weekend I’ve been able to turn my internal switch decisively to OFF. I haven’t been bubbly, smiley, witty, comforting, or selfless. The only person I have had to take care of this weekend is Finley, my cuddly golden retriever. In November of my first year of teaching, I am now a coughing, exhausted, over-whelmed version of my former self. Weekends have become my saving grace, two days in which I do not fall asleep sitting up, creating flipcharts. Two days in which I will eat 3 full meals and interact with people that are over the age of 8.
I am told that with experience the years will become less demanding, less all-consuming. I am also told that I will build up immunity for childhood viruses and bacteria. However, I know that with time and experience I will only gain more responsibilities, more commitments within my school, in the world of education and in my personal life.
In my studio, I tell students that we need to build stamina for reading and writing independently. I wonder if I, as well, am simply in the process of building stamina.
How do you manage to keep your internal switch flicked to ON at school and at home?