Monday, November 27, 2006

Rested and eager ambivalence

I couldn't sleep last night.

Every time I take a break from teaching for longer than the customary 2 day weekend, I get nervous. I don't know why. Maybe I subconsciously think that I will forget what I am doing. Maybe all my kids will come back from break and realize that I don't know what I am doing. Maybe my kids will decide I am boring (too late! Ha!). I don't know.

But, I couldn't sleep last night. So I drugged myself. This is pretty much my standard recourse when I feel sleeping is a mandatory commodity. And actually, this is only the second or third time that I have had *any* trouble sleeping since I have been teaching.

Even though I drugged myself, I woke up at 4:10 am. I couldn't sleep anymore. So I got up.

Surprisingly enough, I felt really rested today. That was awesome. It was a joy to see my kids again, which was also awesome. My patience was back (well sort of). And I loved teaching again.

But, I got done today, and now I don't feel like doing anything. Absolutely nothing. So I am making garlic mashed potatoes from a recipe that I just made up. It's not much of recipe. I boiled potatoes, mashed em up, put in some butter, salt, pepper, garlic (the jar variety), and onion flakes.

I was going to steam vegetables and eat baked chicken too, but then I realized I wasn't hungry.

So I think I am going to go to bed without doing any work and hope for more motivation in the morning. That is my new default reaction to lack of motivation.

And I know I will have that motivation because I haven't written my lesson plans for tomorrow yet. So I will have to get them done.

I can't help but think this is a shoddy way of approaching my job. It is not like I need a break, because I just had one. It is not that I don't care about my kids, because I do.

I need some other possible excuses. Got any?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving = awesome
1 week off for Thanksgiving = genius

These two equations pretty well summarize my thoughts on this past 8 days of glorious in activity. I visited just about every person I know who lives in Indiana, ate great food, talked about everything there is to talk about, watched a bunch of movies, ran around, laughed, played tennis, enjoyed wearing a t-shirt in Indiana in NOVEMBER! and altogether had a great time.

Now I am back in Houston, and more pressing thoughts are on my mind.
Like what do I want to do with my hair. This is serious business. I am a supposedly professional person now, and yet I am growing my hair long (it hasn't seen shears since July). It is just entering the putrid state of always ugly, that usually prompts some rash decision making on my part.

And really, what do I even want from it? Am I really going to go hippie-tastic all over Alief Middle School? I kinda don't think so.

I mean I could. Mr. Esparza has his hair in a pony-tail every day. It's long. But getting to that point is so painful.

What sucks is that having my hair in the short, gelled spiky variety that was my staple is so boring now. I just don't even want to contemplate it.

The more I think about it, the more I see that I have only two choices: hippie-tastic longness or buzzed. I just can't deal with anything else. And to top it off, people who tell me things tell me that it doesn't look 'good' in either mode. No, these people are definite fans of the clean cut, professional spiky haired jake. Who is lameo.

So I don't know what I am going to do.

About the hair anyway. I do know I am going to go eat an amazing sandwich today.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The problem with this "to be continued" crap is that the momentum is now gone. Not to mention all the pressure brought about by certain members of the reading community and their demands.

I read over my previous post and said "Uh huh. So what?" And then didn't really think anything else. I don't know where I was going with this. So I will take this to the conclusion that now appears to be the only logical one, although it doesn't seem all that interesting. Let that be your forwarning.

The question then becomes "Where will I get my 'fix' of spirituality and significant relationships?" When I initially did the interest inventory, I thought that spirituality would be a cinch. In all my past experiences moving to a new place, God has provided a community for spiritual growth in an amazing and powerful way. They all included a new positive spiritual influence and a church, with no planning or foreknowledge by me. So I assumed that God would take care of this again here.

The significant relationships I also thought would be handled easily, partly from the "new positive spiritual influence" referenced above, and then partly from regular communication with the people who already play a significant role in my life.

Both of these assumptions turned out to be pseudo-true.

When I manage weekly communication, I am anchored, but all to often I miss a week or three because of busyness. And then I float off the deep end.

No really. (Maybe this is where I was going with this. A giant unveiling of my weird psyche.) When I miss these 'significant relationships', all the smaller ones, which afford me so much opportunity for fun and stress release suddenly seem burdensome. I sit in on Saturday night and my mind says "You don't want to be out tonight. You're tired. You don't really want to see anybody." And I believe it. But it's not true. My mind will continue this inward spiral until I have a weekend where I don't leave the apartment, have eaten every single consumable I own and feel like death. Then my roommate or someone will say "Hey were going to yadda yadda", I will go because it's so easy, I will have a great time and then be like "What the hell was I doing? I willfully felt like crap for no reason."

And I think my question is very accurate. "What the hell" *was* I doing?

So I really love people. I also really love laughing. But sometimes my mind decides to try and ruin my life by making me think I don't want to see any people. Which is not very funny at all.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Part 1

During the week of TFA orientation, the week that followed the most intense 5 week period of my life, I was asked to participate in a unassuming personal interest inventory. You have seen them before, filled them out before. They are a variation of those Myers-Briggs type tests. They are made to make us as productive as possible. And that is a good thing. We should be productive.

Generally however, I feel like these type tests are used as levers by the management to increase their bottom line or whatever. As a result I do not take them seriously. TFA changed that somewhat. When I took this inventory, I engaged in the exercise with earnest, and found something not totally surprising: the things that are most important to me are spirituality, physical activity, purposefulness and significant relationships.

TFA put a twist on the investigation. "Now that you have these 'critical' interests, think about what your job can provide. Think about what your job can provide out of the 10 interests you originally chose. The remaining interests are things that you must find outside of your job. You must make time for these, or you will be ultimately unsatisified with your life and your teaching will suffer."

Out of the four, purposefulness is knocked out by work. Exercise will come through work next semester, when I coach soccer and run with my kids for an hour and a half every day. The other two however, those are tougher.

To be continued...