Spring from unlikely places and times. I had already blogged today and wasn’t thinking about double-dipping, but as I was writing to a group of wonderful women that I met just last month at a retreat at Breitenbush. If you live in Oregon and have never been to Breitenbush, you really must go. This was only my second time there; the first time was about thirty years ago. I will not wait another thirty years to go back. I’d rather drive the 110 miles there than to Portland. I can even go vegetarian for the time there without any complaints. It’s all about the Natural Hot Springs. It doesn’t quite sound so good when a fish enjoys hot water? While we’re on that topic, let me ask why we can sit in hot water and not get poached. I supposed if I submerged and took the hot water into my system, I probably wouldn’t look any better than the Salmon I had the other night. I wouldn’t be as tasty.
Anyway, I was writing an email to this wonderful group when I realized I had overstepped the boundaries of what a good group email response should be and stepped into blogdom.
Hello everyone. Benefits from the Breitenbush Gathering has been noticeable in the way I choose to work and to play and to just be. Yes, money is great, but it’s not the end all; most of my working years, I have worked more hours than necessary. Overtime? You got it.
I can’t blame my overworking workaholic personality on the God Almighty Buck. I’ve always had a certain compulsion when it comes to doing something that I love to do. Teaching is one of those jobs when there’s never an end. There’s always something to read or create if I’ve managed to do all the grading in a timely manner. Like the next day. If I gave a quiz, which I always did every day, it had to be graded immediately.
Investing time and energy in becoming a better athlete, a better teacher doesn’t count the hours, just the outcome. After I completed my Master’s in teaching, I’ve been building on my teaching license as if I were adding rooms, more space in my life. I couldn’t settle for a Grades 6-12 Highly Qualified English teacher, I had to return to Pacific University and add grades three through five. Even though I learned that fourth, fifth, and twelfth are my favorite grades, I went back to Pacific University for the third time to add a K-12 Reading Endorsement. When it comes to reading, I have no favorite grade.
This blog isn’t even close to the one I imagined. Sometimes blogs have a mind of their own. I’m just the typist.
Even though I love teaching, I have a harder time springing back, especially with the little ones. I’ve had some second and third grade classes that have run me into the ground. I run from student to student. Maybe I absorb all of the drama. There are way more tears in this age group. Lots and lots of drama.
To me, the drama mellows out in fourth and fifth, though it comes screeching back by the time they hit sixth. It depends on whether sixth grade is part of middle school or elementary. I liked being a sixth grader in elementary; you got to be the top of the heap rather than the bottom. So many sixth graders can’t be competing against seventh and eighth graders. I might even have a theory about bullying regarding sixth grade status, but I’d have to give it a lot more thought.
This is why I said that my favorite grades are fourth, fifth, and twelfth. By Senior year, Most of the drama cards have been played, and these people are just ready to start their life and stop jumping through all of these silly little obstacles that school throws out at them.
The other day someone on Facebook posted a short statement that encompasses my one and only goal:
This is my main desire for the second half of my life. Is this asking too much? I think not. When I have the energy and the desire to teach, I work. If my desire is to spend more time reading and writing and perhaps even sleeping in, I don’t work. I’m even balancing what grades and subjects I’ll tackle. I traded a full day with third graders to two half days with fifth graders; I especially liked the ten o’clock start time rather than the 7:45 time. Why can’t they come up with night school for kids.
One of the residual effects of this work schedule is that I am so much happier. When I sing in the choir, I have been singing louder; I can’t vouch for whether I am singing better, but I’m having fun, and that just adds onto that happiness I have begun to feel.
There are some days I go out and cut blackberry paths just for the hell of it. Now that it’s been raining, I’m thinking about working on blackberry tunnels instead. That would be cool. Life sure can be a Vicious Cycle.