I’m so tired

There is a real good chance that this is going to be a quiet week. Other than griping about how much I hate having to wear a mask all day, which is true of absolutely everyone, I have no complaints about today (which, as a reminder, was my first day back in-person in thirteen months) at all. I knew it was going to go fine and it went fine. I still have some things to think about (I was not expecting working with the at-home kids to go well, and it went worse than I thought it would) but the main thing today was to survive it, and it went fine.

My neck hurts (and I know why, it’s because I’m stupid) and I am tired in my bones. I expect that condition to continue through the end of the week, at least. I’m going to pull tomorrow’s assignment together and try to stay out of bed until 9. No guarantees after that.

Yikes

I’m sitting in my classroom right now, typing this on my work laptop, and trying to figure out the next nine weeks of my life. It is possible I have overscheduled myself; I got an email today from this course design thing I’m doing with IU that describes what they think the schedule is going to look like, and it’s … a lot, potentially. Then there’s the new committee I’m on at work, which is a few extra hours after school a week, then (eventually) there’s going to be National Board certification, which is just a meeting here and there right now, but soon I’m going to have to start actually doing stuff for it, and I looked up what the content area test was going to be like the other day and, well …

This is for their adolescent (11-15) Mathematics certification, which is going to be the one I’m going for. I teach Algebra, y’all, and I washed out of Calculus in high school and never looked at it again, but, like, right now I think I want to do the content area test first, and the notion that I need to relearn Geometry, Trig, Discrete Math and Calculus in the next few months when I never really learned Calculus in the first place, plus a refresher on stats?

I mean, on the one hand, at least I have something to do this summer, and on the other hand, I’ve wanted to go back and conquer Calculus, because it’s always sort of stuck in my craw that I bailed on it, and on the third hand, the one I don’t have that’s kind of a lot.

Like, I pass standardized tests. Passing standardized tests is my thing. I’ll be fine. But my studyin’ muscles haven’t really had much of a workout for the last, oh, fifteen years or so– who am I kidding, it’s longer than that, because I’m pretty sure I didn’t have to do a single second of “studying” for my M.Ed– and I’m gonna have to rediscover some skills with a quickness.

Plus, like, even just planning out how to approach all this is intimidating. I’m sure there are plenty of self-paced/free or inexpensive study guides out there, both specifically for this test and for these subjects in general, but that’s basically all of high school math that I need a refresher on plus some stuff I never really touched until college. While designing a course in Quantitative Reasoning for IU, doing whatever I need to do for this other committee, and, oh, teaching the last nine weeks of 8th grade math from school when I haven’t taught physically in my building for literally over a year and figuring out how to keep the kids who are staying home connected to everything else that’s going on.

One step at a time, I suppose.

First step: find a study guide for the test itself; Amazon probably has one. Second step: relearn all of mathematics.

It’ll be fine.

Operationalized pedagogical equitability

I’ve talked several times lately about how I’m making a concerted effort to recommit to teaching as a profession I’m going to retire from and increase my profile as a leader in my building. To that end, and among other things, I’ve joined a committee that is going to require some extra work of me throughout the school year– and, amazingly, is actually stipended– and I have a two-hour meeting fifteen minutes from now that’s going to be the first real meeting of that committee. We had a launch event of sorts a couple of weeks ago but that wasn’t much of anything; I’m actually having to do some preparation for this one.

And, Christ, the first meeting hasn’t even started yet and I’m already exhausted. There’s a certain way of talking about teaching that is so infected with bullshit corporate speak that it’s barely comprehensible, and these documents they’ve shared with us for our perusal are so thick with it that I want to wash my hands. Tons of nouns being turned into verbs, unnecessary adverbs, piles and piles of acronyms and simple things being saddled with unnecessarily complicated names, and lots of taking words and phrases and arranging them into shapes that don’t actually carry any useful meaning or promote any particular kind of understanding. Linguistic cruft. I’d copy and paste some examples but I’m pretty sure it’d end up getting me in trouble.

Like, there is absolutely a way to improve failing buildings. Every school can improve. But creating a 26-page report that no one is going to read and which is so overwritten as to be incomprehensible is not one of the ways you do that.

(They’re still not gonna close the honors academy, by the way, and that school is noticeably absent from this process for some reason. This means that the single best method of improving the scores of all our middle schools, simultaneously is off the table before we even begin. And when it gets right down to it, this is about test scores, not learning, and they aren’t the same thing.)

I have faith that once we’re past this initial phase and actually talking about our building we’ll be able to make strides toward accomplishing things; don’t get me wrong. I’m just made extremely tired by the way we’re getting into the process.

In which I exist outside time

This was one of those days where I was perpetually being surprised by what time it was; the boy has started Spring Break, which means I can sleep in a little bit because I don’t have to get up early to get him ready for school (he starts 45 minutes before I do) and as a result I was sitting in a chair and enjoying my coffee this morning when it hit me that I actually did have to go to work today and I had about twelve minutes to be showered, dressed, and in front of my computer– an achievement I somehow managed.

This is all just to say that I sat down to play Oblivion for “a little bit” after dinner and it is now somehow 8:25 PM and I have not blogged today. Luckily, tomorrow’s assignment is done already … or at least I think it is.

In lieu of an actual post, allow me to present you with this email, which I received during dinner:

Not “When is Spring Break?,” a question I’d have answered without a second thought. This person is asking are they out for Spring Break right now.

This does explain her kid’s grade somewhat.

Anecdata

If I’m being honest, I was oddly hoping to spend the day sick. Covid vaccine side effects, on an asynchronous Friday where I’ve already given the kids the day off and cancelled my most important meeting of the day? Staying in bed occasionally moaning, taking naps, and sick from something that everybody knows is supposed to make you kinda sick so I don’t have that weird self-gaslighting thing that I do when I’m sick about whether this is Good Enough to justify whatever I’ve chosen to not do? Hell, sign me up.

Turns out I’m fine. I followed some advice that my wife passed on, which was to go into the shot loaded to the gills on Vitamin C and as hydrated as possible. And, like, who the hell knows if that actually ended up mattering at all? But I have Vitamin C dummies on hand and ate a couple of those plus an orange and had a couple of large glasses of water before going in and getting the shot, and I’ve had no side effects at all beyond arm soreness, which is an inconvenience at best. So I figure I’ll pass the advice on: eat an orange and drink a bunch of water before your second shot. It might help, and if it doesn’t, well, you’re hydrated and oranges are tasty.

My brain keeps tossing me a few years into the future where the nanobots in all of the vaccines turn us into zombies in service of whatever company provided the shot, and I will fight for House Pfizer in the irradiated wasteland of 2025. If you end up getting your shot from someone else, I promise that whatever shreds of my mind remain will regret having to destroy you.


I ran into my old boss at the furniture store today, and we talked for a few minutes, and it really hit me during the conversation just how much I’ve re-embraced my identity as a teacher in this past year. I never really thought of the furniture store as a permanent job– this is not something that would come as a surprise to any of my co-workers, I think– but it was far from clear what I’d be doing next, and even throughout last year I was kind of thinking of myself as on probation. This year has solidified things; I’m not going anywhere, and I’m starting to step up for leadership roles in the building again, similar to the types of things I’ve done in previous buildings.

I am putting this in print now mostly so that I can come back and laugh at it in a couple of weeks, when after three days of in-person instruction I am back to wondering what the hell I was ever thinking and checking want ads as a form of recreation again. 🙂