Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Mountain of Pudding

Congratulate me, dear reader. I have just survived the Week from Hell.

As many of you know, I am a damned scribbling woman with a day job. Specifically, I am a high school English teacher. Last year, I also became co-department chair. What does that mean? It means that my already inadequate prep time is eaten up by meetings. Lots and lots of meetings.

This year, I'm teaching five class periods, three different preps (one of them AP English... which is basically a college course). Two of them are new classes--including the AP--which means I'm creating curriculum from scratch. Normally, this is something I can handle. And yet... this past week, I was staying up until 1:00am (and getting up at 5:30am) just to be ready for the day's teaching. (We won't even talk about the grading and long-term planning I've managed to avoid...) To add insult to injury, I actually had two meetings this week about another meeting. That's right: meta-meetings to anticipate and then reflect upon another meeting.

Seriously? Seriously!

I wouldn't mind if the meetings were actually useful, but most days it just feels like I'm climbing a mountain of pudding. I expend lots of effort, but never seem to get anywhere. My work desk is a pit (see above), and my house is a bio-hazard. I haven't worked on my novel at all in months. And perhaps worst of all, I'm starting to resent a job that I used to love.

I want to focus on my students (the reason I'm there in the first place). I want to develop my own brain (and novel). I want to spend time with my new husband, in a home that's not oppressively disorganized.

Ah, well. I don't know if I'll ever clear the dishes from the sink, but I do know that I can take control of my writing. If there's one thing I've learned through our years of blogging, it's easy to whine. It's much harder to actually change one's circumstances. This is why, prodded by Anneliese, I'm making my writing goals for the school year public:
  • I will stay at least two days ahead of my students in terms of planning and reading.
  • I will write EVERY day, including weekends (even if only one paragraph)
  • I will attend at least 6 GSRWA meetings during 2009.
  • I will take an online writing class with Patricia Kay.
  • I will begin sending work to my critique partner every two weeks! (Look for an email on October 5th, A.L.!)
  • I will create and implement a plan to achieve PRO status before the 2009 Emerald City Writers' Conference.
Day job getting you down? I'd love to commiserate! Of course, straight sympathy works, too.


ames said...

Work is getting me down and I hear you on the meetings. Plus my supervisor likes to micromanage. Good job on setting goals for yourself.

Sam said...

Oh, man. I hear you on the pudding mountain (what a great image!). The sustainability committee I started at my school has taken off to a scary degree -- awesome, but it means that the ratio of work time spent on my actual library job (you know, the thing they officially pay me for) to work time spent on other things is steadily decreasing. I keep waiting for my boss to notice.

And this week my co-worker is out for two days for Rosh Hashanah. Which means I will be teaching 5 classes of someone else's preps on Tues. and Wed. In addition to everything else I need to do. And, by the way, the teacher on whose project we're collaborating basically came in on Fri. afternoon and said, "Teach my freshmen everything about libraries and doing research in 20 minutes." HAHAHHAHAHA. I'm so dreading this week, I can't even tell you.

Ok, thanks for letting me rant! Yay ranting! But we're still doing what we want to be doing, and that's what counts. Everything will work out. *hugs*

Melissa Blue said...

I'm a single mother of two children. I work 40 hours a week. I also attend college (2 classes) I'm strapped for time. If I concentrate on one thing the others get neglected.

Here are some hugs 'cause I understand.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Any way you can back out as co-chair? Sounds grueling. Feel your pain about "just" the plain teaching schedule. People who've never taught have no clue the unpaid hours of work and stress which go in to that vocation.

Write on!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I recommend 100 Words in 100 Days as I way to get motivated to write. It totally keeps your head in your novel and keeps you making progress even though it's only 100 words every day. (Of course you could write more...) ;)

Good luck--you're a hero!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Oh, and I agree with Sam--mountain of pudding is a great image!

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Sounds miserable, sorry to hear that they are keeping you so busy!
My job is quieting down a bit. The last week I have only worked 16 hour days as opposed to 18, which have been ongoing since July. Although we now have night treatments again at midnight, so who knows? My favourite moment this week was when I pulled a mummified, rotting, fetid fetus from a hog deer, it ripped in half, my fingers ended up in the remainder of the brain and I then noticed that my glove had ripped. I did gamefully manage to not throw up, but it was a near thing. The elephant is sick, the gorilla is sick, two high profile animals came in and died within 24 hours, one while I tried to rescucitate it alone, and almost all of our wildlife cases are circling the drain. Sometimes I cannot believe that I volunteered for this crap.
And I am out of beer. Tragically.


online sports writing jobs said...

I know exactly what you mean! I’ve been in this situation so many times before. That’s really sad how work control every aspect of our life. Once I got so depressed that I had to take some very long vacation, and so I did. I traveled with my family in Australia for three months. It was the best vacation in my life. I came back to work with renewed energy and strength. I recommend all of you to do it. You’ll not regret this, I promise. Anyway, good luck with your job.