Stale beginnings

Last week: Getting to work an hour late one day, reminding middle schoolers about homework every day and then getting no homework, proctoring MEAP tests, watching a 5th grader throw up all over his Spanish folder, practically bathing self and students in hand sanitizer (or as the kiddos say: hanitizer) in a likely-futile battle against germs, doing a lot of creepy mouth-breathing because my sinuses are so clogged up, putting together my sub plans, planning to call off sick, then miraculously recovering enough that I could stick it out a few more days…

Hard to remember what it was like to have free time. I know I need to sleep more, stay hydrated, eat better, exercise more, get my oil changed, go to the doctor. There are a million things that have become peripheral because there’s too much that can’t be put off.

Once again nothing to scrape the surface of all the things that are on my mind.

Expansions, renovations.

At school, I am much better this year at remembering names, remembering which parents I need on speed dial, honing my eyes-in-the-back-of-the head vision so I can stop the pencil tapping with one well aimed death-eye. It helps that classes have an average of 20 kids each instead of 30, but I still see about 150 kids every day. I make notes for myself on post-its or behind my eyelids to remind me of the students I need to talk to individually, the people who I need to give special jobs or special compliments to because the ratio of stern-to-loving has been a little skewed this week.

Sometimes I feel like the shape of my life requires such constant expansion. You need an incredible elasticity of the heart to fit everything and everyone in. I am getting better at that; I know I’ll get better at it every year. I want that.

Sometimes it feels like that expanding capacity to love is all poured into my workday – 8 hours or 16 hours or whichever – and that other areas have atrophied. The capacity for affection or trust or optimism about other parts of my life. I don’t want that.


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