This end of summer has been especially humid. With the exception of a few glorious days of high clouds, bright sun, crisp shadows, the air has been mostly an omnipresent tear, a soggy mess, inside and outside, both hot and cold. Perhaps it is a fitting metaphor for my life.
I started last week setting up my classroom. This is significant. It was not easy, but it looks today like a place that students can learn. And today, Saturday, I woke up at 5:20, just to start getting back into the routine. ( Yes, fell asleep again at 7… to rid myself of exhaustion headache) Chanted with my wife. listened to a favorite morning jazz show, Pharoah Sanders exhorting a Freedom song. But, then, I had to turn it off.
Took out the papers, the preparation to do, spread it out on the dining room table, and tackle one task at a time…morning meeting rituals, line order , where to sit, how to get homework, how to, how to, how to. and the list of tasks to accomplish. the details, the part that tends to make me crazy,
I loved the three home visits I did to student’s homes this week. I got so energized meeting the parents for Open House. It’s the details that are my bear. And I can only placate, tame this bear, by steady acts. I am seeing that it can be done.
I am very thankful. Last April, I took a medical leave- left for spring break and did not come back for the rest of the year. I was wondering if I would ever come back- if i was done with teaching for good. I spoke with my good friend James Herrmann in May. I told him that I was scared to call him, that i was afraid that he would tell me that I had to go back to teaching. James said ” I’m not going to tell you anything. But I am going to remind you of your vow”. I was silent. If I had not made such a vow, my life would be easier!. Silence. He said ” What was your vow?” ( We had spoken about this at FNCC, a few years earlier) and I said ” my vow was to become the best teacher I could be” ” of course, when you make such a vow, all kinds of obstacles will appear! I really hope that you can remain in education, work with young people some how!”
So I knew that I was going to go back. If I did not do my absolute best, I would not be able to ever encourage anyone.
I did a few things. I got to raise a garden, shape a yard. Started my publishing company,registered over 100 compositions. Learned to enjoy myself, be grounded in my yard, my neighborhood. Saw the sunlight shift in the trees. Established my hammock. Took 3 teacher union classes! Created organizational systems, that work for me. Started writing a novel! Played a lot of music! Enjoyed my family, celebrated small things, the haiku of life. Deepened my practice, and faith. Went to the Culture Department meeting at FNCC. Now, expecting obstacles, and learning not to be freaked out.( as much) Learning how to make the best of my ADD. Not everyone gets to have it! So how can it be used for good and not evil? I am learning how to break tasks into manageable parts.
So, while I grieve the end of summer, the death of summer, I am hopeful, and have a list of, about two dozen people or so who have helped me. Now, I am making name-tags, and designating places for morning meeting.
My goal is to keep my tranquility, and have the most joyful learning 3rd grade classroom every, keepmy creative outlets, my connections to my family, the SGI, and win in the long term. Keep you posted