Sunday, September 23, 2012

Focusing on ONE Topic? Hard to do sometimes...

Wow! I just realized I have not blogged since September 3rd! Where does the time go? As many of you are in the same boat, no doubt, I'm sure you can relate to the feelings of being overwhelmed, tired from the school day-week-month, attending extra-curricular activities, and of course planning, teaching, meetings, etc. etc. etc. Having said that, I cannot focus on just ONE topic to blog about----so many things are on the brain tonight! 

Go figure! I was in bed trying to sleep, and opened my eyes, realizing I was wide awake with the sudden urge to write on my blog- a random assortment of things I must say.

So, what have I been up to this busy month? 

1. School, of course! It seems I've had zero time online (sniff, sniff) because I've just been downright too busy from 6 am til 10 pm--and then I'm pooped! Seriously, legs ache, head hurts, and ears in desperate need of silence...
  • Grading!!! It seems as though I have this ever-growing stack of papers to GRADE! Do you have that feeling? Will I ever catch up with all the papers? I feel more pressure over last couple of years since parents check grades on computer ---religiously.. ;)  I think I may have to have a "Come to Jesus Meeting" with myself about feeling as though I must grade every stinkin' thing the kids do---
  • Planning/Preparation-- While I have "boocoodles" of things to use in planning for each week, there's so much that goes into getting ready for upcoming week's lesson plan--the copying of papers is the BIG time stealer, the "cute" notebooks/flip charts to go along with the week's agenda (Yes, this is something I've grown unable to live without, lol), reading upcoming literature selections prior to class time, and more.
  • Make Up Work--wait..... MAKE UP WORK! I have had more students out, due to illness, vacations to other countries, accidents, etc. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in last month putting together make up work for students....more so than any year I can recall. It's unreal how much time gets taken up with getting individual student make up work together. Am I the only one that finds this stressful? Yes, I tend to have my little "system" for make up work---pulling items from the day's lessons and putting them in each block's make up folder for students; pulling tests to put in test make up folder, blah blah--you know the drill! ;) While I totally understand absences happening and make up work just being a part of teaching, I just have to say I've had more absences in August and Sepetember of this year than any I can ever remember....and it seems to be that way with other teachers in my department/grade this year too. 
  • Meetings-- You know what I'm talking about!  Department meetings, faculty meetings, book study meetings, and parent/teacher conferences are the main/routine meetings to which I'm referring. Remembering what day of the week I have which and seeing one thing after the other occupy afternoons on the calendar can really make a girl tired.... yawn.... :) 
  • Ending the School/Work Day-- Even though I've tried very hard to STOP grading papers at home and grade a lot less at home than in the previos years,  I've still struggled with leaving school at school (work at work), and I'm trying to remind myself that I have a "life" and need to tend to things at home-- which brings me to my next topic ;)
2. After School/Work! After a long day at school, you know your day isn't over---and, knowing you totally understand the feeling, I'm dog-tired after school...
  • Cleaning house
  • Tending to 5 dogs/ 1 cat (and my hubs!)
  • Laundry
  • Dinner, dinner, dinner
  • Errands (before everything closes---since teachers can't exactly swing by salons, doctor's appt.., banks, pharmacies, groceries, etc. on lunch Well, I can't at least...I'm doing WELL just to get 5 secs to wash my hands before lunch and maybe RUN to restroom between classes.)
  • Home Projects---Does your list continue to pile up faster than you can cross things off of it? (still painting outside of house, attic insulation, dealing w/ dryer vents, new light fixtures, garage door issues....blah, blah, blah (Don't even get me on the list I HOPE to get to do in next year or two! It's waaayyy too long!)
  • Bills---yes, remembering to pay the bills, recording expenses, etc., etc., ---I don't think my hubs realizes how good he has it not having to remember to do that! I am the main one w/ that duty. And, yes, "bills" occupy time--even the scheduling of payments with online banking...I'm always stressing that I'm forgetting something!
  • Last--Finding time to spend w/ family, friends and actually getting out to enjoy this beautiful thing known as LIFE! I'm trying harder to do that since I basically was a computer/online geek all summer----and, it seems every weekend has been consumed with out of town functions and football games this month. (October is already packed every weekend...) 
3. Down-Time!   Wait.....what was that I just said? Does that exist anymore? I try to decompress--recently in the hammock w/ the spurts of fall weather in the air!! ;) Or, after I've done all I can physically/mentally manage for one day, I jump in bed to read to have some "quiet" time or "me" time--but usually, I doze off w/ the book/magazine in hand! 

Why am I sharing all of this? 
Well, Not to complain--please don't fuss at me or think I don't love my job or life, because I do! I have TONS to be thankful for and have been truly blessed with so much. But, I'm human.
I'm also sharing because I'd love to hear if others can relate to my ramblings..
And, I'm also feeling the need to jabber on about the bazillion things in my head---in hopes that "blog therapy" will take them off the brain, even if momentarily. (This reminds me of that show "Awkward"--ha, I just admitted to watching that show--last Sunday's marathon anyway!!) 
Another reason for sharing and ALWAYS lingering in my thoughts is that I've been feeling that I'm neglecting my blog, collaborative blogs, my interaction with the SUPER AWESOME network of friends I've grown to know through my blogging/social media "pow wows" --and, well, I've been paranoid about being so MIA. Don't even get me started on how BUGGED I am that I've not even thought about sitting down to create my next resource for my store! But, it's as if one day has rolled into the next before I've realized it. I need a couple of hours added to the 24 hr. day!!! ;0 Yeah, not happening. 
So, if you've read this far, THANK YOU for letting me get it all out! ;) This has been a true "Blog Therapy Session" for me! From this point forward, I may refer to it as BTS time! -ha, ha! I'm Serious! People say journaling, keeping a diary, etc. helps. I'm guessing that IS TRUE! I feel a little better already, now that I've BLOGGED about it! This is the first blog post in a while with no pics, products, freebies, giveaways, or basically teaching related content---except for the whole "life as a teacher" thing! 

Tell me, how do you find time to ENJOY life, wind down, and remember the "important things" in the midst of all of the daily demands that will always be there?  I would LOVE to hear your "time management tips" because they would be very helpful! :) 
A. Smith middle school teaching Innovative Connections
P.S. Since I RAMBLED on and on this evening, in attempt to "blog it out," I ask that you kindly ignore any all errors, as I'm just not feeling up to proofreading tonight--Toodles! ;)


  1. Oh Ann Marie, I think we can all relate! Bloggers and non-bloggers. The beginning of the school year is SUCH a hectic time. We're all just trying to get our bearings. I think it's the really GREAT teachers who suffer the most - and I'll tell you why. They are always trying to do just ONE MORE THING. They naturally go above and beyond for their kids. If you were more of a slacker - then you'd find a few extra hours in the day - alas that's not who I am - nor you.

    I've spent much of the beginning of the year getting to know the kids, and this weekend - today, is the first time that I really have a PILE to correct. It'll get done, though - always does, right?

    One thing I would say, is don't grade everything. I know, I know. I know that we're in two very different places in the world, with standardized testing and so on. However, is there any way that you can read student work, provide feedback for how they may improve and take it back in to grade when those improvements have been made? I know that time is still taken to read the piece, however, much is saved my not actually calculating a "grade" for it. Don't mark every grammatical error, every sentence that doesn't make sense. Just tell them the main issues that you noticed and give them feedback about how to fix those. I'm saying this - and maybe you do it already. I just know that I didn't used to do this until I attended a writing conference on the 6 +1 Traits of Writing and she completely changed the way I mark Language Arts. I can tell you more about that later, if you want.

    Basically, I would say - you're "at that point". I get there each year - usually in October. You're not alone. As far as time management, do what you can IN SCHOOL. Correct/read as much as you can while circulating the room when they are writing. The less you can manage to take home, the more home time you'll have. You can also take in a piece and mark for just one element at a time. If you mark every piece for everything - that's a lot. I try to focus on one or two things - plus overall conventions. Then in their next piece of writing, I'll mark for other elements. Again - our programs are probably completely different- I'm just saying that's what I do.

    Hang in there Ann Marie and never feel bad about neglecting anyone, but yourself. You need time for you (and your family). Find it. In the end, the rest doesn't really matter. It must be done, I agree, but you need time to live. So, make sure to find it each day. I'll be checkin'. Sleep well tonight.

    You wrote a rambling post - you got a rambling comment;)


    1. Love your rambling comment! :) lol....Thanks, Krystal!

  2. Awwww Ann Marie we can ALL relate!! I get totally bogged down with life too! Krystal gave some great advice in her comment above... take the time for you first and worry about everything else next.

    And I totally agree about not marking everything... ask your kids to do some peer editing, keep track of their work and then ask them to hand in their best three examples of (writing, reading response etc) for you to mark. I know how exhausting and time consuming it can be... and then I always wonder how many of my comments the kids are reading anyway!

    I hope you're feeling better about everything! Sheesh... sounds like you've got a lot on the go.

    Sending you big cyber hugs!!

    1. Thank you for the cyber hugs, Addie!!! I am fine, just wanted to get my long list out there to see if others felt the same... I guess it's one of those things that makes you feel better to know that other teachers do the same! ;) Thanks for commenting!! Haven't talked in a while.. you've been MIA!


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