Friday, December 21, 2007

Winding down:

I could/should be grading papers right now in a mad rush to have my vacation be just a vacation; that would be my old rabbit approach to life. Instead, I am in turtle mode, shuffling through my work predecessor’s papers to get ideas for next term. I am working, but at a much slower pace. I am burnt out and need to recover a bit before I can grade their final projects.

Actually, my new friend the Scantron machine graded all my freshman finals yesterday, so I am ahead of the game there. I’ve even already entered all of those into my grade book. What remains for those kids is all of the late work that I foolishly accepted and a small stack of workbook pages that I simply hadn’t gotten to yet.

I gave my last final exam yesterday. I still have two days of contract time where I am required to be “on campus”. I don’t really plan on doing much, besides winding down and packing some things for me to look at over break. I have a full sixteen days off for Christmas.

The thing about teaching is that one is never really away from work. Thus, sixteen days without students is not really sixteen days off. Any conversation or random thought could become part of a lesson plan. Also, I am also a slow grader. My final grades for the current session aren’t due until January seventh. Several of my sixteen days will be spent leisurely pushing paper and numbers around our dining room table. Still, this is a welcome break from the rigors of instruction and discipline.

Elliot update – another clean bill of health and a series of vaccinations came from Monday’s pediatrician visit. I liken holding him after work each day to watching the volume slowly get turned up on a stereo – each day there is more person and personality there looking back at me and the world. He has started to make pre-vocal noises that are the earliest precursors of speech – he burbles and coos like a kettle on the boil. He is thirteen point four pounds now. All of his birth length is gaining girth. His favorite album is Paul Simon’s Graceland.

Jes has continued to regularly update her flickr page, so if you are in need of recent baby pictures I would direct you there.

Time Jump –

It’s Friday night now and I am just up from my post-work nap. I have it in mind to make a to-do list for the break, but initially my to-do list says only “rest”. I really crashed when I got home and woke up in one of those stupors where you forget both who and where you are. It’ll take me a bit to sort it out.

Tomorrow Jes and her mom are planning to make cookies while I keep child and dog occupied in the basement. We have a holiday Party at Kim’s to attend and my nephews are showing up at some point as well. It’ll take me a bit to come down from the end of the term’s mad grading rush. Jes has put Elliot on my shoulder and is calling him my imp. Elliot, in imp-like fashion, is pulling my hair. She is reading The Bartimaeus Trilogy, in which imps figure prominently. I finished the series a few weeks back.

I am debriefing myself over the term just past, thinking on my successes and failures. Halfway through my second year of teaching high school, I was struck today by an overheard conversation in which a thirteen year veteran described our work as the easiest and most difficult way that there is to make a living: easy in that we access our passions through instruction, and most difficult in the myriad roles we must play from parent to psychologist. I have both earned and require the next two weeks “off” to recover from and rest up for this best and worst of jobs.


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