Tuesday, August 5, 2008

iPod Envy and Teacher Talk

I have iPod envy, I admit it. Tonight I was at the gym, working out extra hard because I haven't been there in over a week and my diet has been a pretty steady stream of pizza and candy, and everyone around me was plugged into one. Me, I don't even have a portable CD player. What is my problem. Also, I can't read on the elliptical--too bouncy. So instead of doing anything entertaining to my brain during that half hour (or forty-five minutes, if I can convince myself to keep going) I settle for watching the display on the machine and coveting my neighbors' technology.

Ooh, look, I burned another calorie! Only 17 minutes and 45 seconds left on this joyride. No, wait, 35 seconds. Hey, maybe I should see how many steps per minute I'm doing. Oh, 158. No, 144. No, 152. Huh. Fascinating. All right. Two more calories for the win! Ooh, Ooh, I should check my heartrate!

Yeah, I need some music, or a nice classic being read to me off of librivox.org, a podcast of This American Life, c'mon, anything but this. OOH, look! It said my workout was 10% complete! Wheeee!

So anyway, in the absence of entertainment, my brain uses this time to mull over ideas (when it's not watching digital numbers slowly flipping). Sometimes I write my blog post while pretend jogging away. Sometimes I work through a plot hole in my novel. Lately, I have also been spending quite a bit of time working over ways to increase my patience with the two little ones. With very little success, but you know. Last night I actually spent a good portion of my workout making a mental list of things that need to be cleaned in my home because they have surpassed my own low standards of disgustability. (So today I staged a mini-nervous-breakdown and asked my daycare provider to watch both boys for the morning while I cleaned my bathroom and organized all of the boys' clothes...damn, it's amazing how fast they outgrow stuff, and I've got to stay on top of the organizational system or I'll miss a whole box of second-hand clothing until it's too late and it's already too small!)

Tonight, though, something unprecedented for the summer happened, and although it made me a little bit excited, it also made me very much sad. While I was bouncing along, my brain landed on an idea for my 7th graders to do as a writing assignment. Can you believe it? SCHOOL THOUGHTS. And this wasn't only like, "Hey, I think when we read A Day No Pigs Would Die, I think I'll have them do this rite of passage assignment, only a little different than I did last year. NO. This was like, planning out groups and arranging for the use of the video editing iMacs, and putting together a faux reality television show in my classroom. This was true inspiration.


Ugh. Oh, well. This is one of the stranger mysteries of summer vacation, I guess. Every year, well except my second year, when honestly I was still burned out from the first one, I find myself actually getting interested in the idea of education once again, even though I hardly believed it was possible a month ago. Inspiration creeps up on me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm very loathe to go back to work right now. I am in the middle of a very exciting round of edits on my novel, feeling really happy about it, loving my routine of late nights and coffee in the morning, and mostly even enjoying being around my children and my husband. I am really, REALLY not looking forward to that part of teaching that leaves me constantly feeling like I'll never get caught up, always racing to get seven thousand things done in four minutes, standing half my life away in front of the copy machine, and grading those goddamn papers. My life is nice right now without homework.

BUT. It's nice to see that I do still like the thought of teaching. That I still have some of my old enthusiasm for the process of learning. That the creative teacher I like to think I am is starting to stir inside me. I'll let her out a little later next week, I think.


cowpops said...

and you know...

that creative teacher you're so modest of is what is getting you your dedication on my first novel...

(just sayin..)

CDP said...

And in a just world, talented teachers wouldn't have to stand in front of copiers...they'd hire people to do that for you.

Mary's List said...

No offense, but this post gives me a sick feeling inside -- ya feel me?

liss n kids said...

cowpops, aww shucks

cdp, you are totally in charge of the world from now on!!!

mary, I'm so sorry. Soooo sorry. I know. I am ashamed.