Tuesday, March 3, 2009


So in following my new teaching mantra of not asking the students to do anything that I wouldn't do, I had to follow some of my own Transcendental instructions yesterday. After dragging my students through some of Thoreau's quotes from Walden, (Okay, some of them are budding transcendentalists, most of them looked like they'd been injured) we discussed the concept of simplifying our lives. I asked my students if they could simplify their lives, as Thoreau instructed, to 10 details or fewer - ten things/people/passions/things to spend effort...life on.
So here's my list:
my daughter
my marriage (those these two are inexorably tied)
learning/my education
family (beyond the three of us)
coffee (& the newspaper, though that's covered under reading, technically)

I'm looking at my priorities, and I think I'm okay with my list. It speaks volumes (especially since I see where I put teaching - though I've been having a rough week, so that might creep back up a little higher later - but at least it made the list...)
I'm now trying to keep these things in mind as I'm really stressed out. I'm on overload right now: work for my grad class, regular school work, creating materials for the professional development workshop I'm teaching in three weeks, my curriculum revision meeting tomorrow (never a peaceful affair), becoming a mentor (was just asked today to mentor the new teacher), working on my department presentation for next month - not to mention spending time with my daughter and my husband, hands down my two favorite, most important people in the whole world.
So where do I find balance in all of this? How do I keep my head above water? This is something I'd better figure out if I'm going to attempt a doctoral program next year. And I need to keep contributing at school, and I do really like this new way of teaching I'm developing - but it's way more active, which means I'm getting way less done during the day!
My first step - I've started setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier and I'm doing some yoga first thing in the morning. Did I mention that I haven't really exercised (if giving birth doesn't count) since I became pregnant a year and a half ago? So that's something I can do for me.
Balancing the rest of it? Well, I'm still working that out...

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