It has been a VERY long time since I have participated in the Sunday Salon, and while I would like to promise myself that this is the start of a weekly habit, I know my track record too well to make that commitment.
This week marked the return to the routine. All the holiday decorations have been put away again for another 11 months, and the back-to-school regimen began in earnest. I have made good on a few resolutions, but I am trying not to overdo it. Slow and Steady wins the race is my new motto.
This semester will be a drastic change in schedule for me. Without going into too many details, I asked and was granted a one semester sabbatical from teaching my most challenging course: 9th Grade English. I think the stress and strain of last year (having 9 different course preps, taking care of my ill mother, and eventually dealing with her death) has taken its toll on me. I have little patience, and in this particular classroom, I had none. But I am indeed so blessed to work for a caring and compassionate administrator who saw my need and was willing to fulfill my request. It took a while to find a suitable substitute, but at 4:00PM on Thursday afternoon — when classes were to begin at 8:30AM on Friday — a final decision had been made. I spent Friday early morning gathering course materials to hand over – and for the first time in my life I benefited from my OCD organizational tendencies! In just one hour I had assembled 90% of all the handouts and lesson plans that I believe she will need.
In addition to that schedule change, my Tuesday/Thursday class dropped enrollment to just two students this semester. And as fate would have it — all of us have first hour free on Monday – Wednesday – Friday. So what this means for me is that I will be done teaching at 1:30PM on these days and I will have Tuesdays and Thursdays totally free. And my schedule on Fridays is amazing: I teach Brit Lit 2nd hour and 8th Grade English 5th hour.
For the first time in the 8 years I have been teaching, I feel as though I can have a personal life during the school year – and I am so excited!
So what do I plan to do with all this free time?
- Well, for one thing, I hope to blog more regularly. I hope to start maintaining a list of possible blog post ideas and then cull from that list on a weekly basis.
- I hope to develop an exercise routine that helps keep me fit. I am not looking to run any marathons or bulk up muscle mass. I just want to firm up the flab and walk several times a week.
- I hope to not only write my daily morning pages, but I want to begin to hone my writing craft. I tend to use 750words.com as a journal, documenting life events and personal feelings – but I do not give much thought as to how I write. I want to work on my creative writing projects on a regular basis.
- I hope to focus on photography as a creative means of escape. So far this week I have taken a picture every day for the 365 Project and I am glad to have persevered. However, the pictures are definitely more journalistic in that they document how I spent the day rather than creative expression. BUT…slow and steady wins the race and I have promised myself that I will enjoy the journey and not add undo pressure.