Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time. . . Is On My Side. . .

I had a particularly good week. The dread I felt at the start of the term has evaporated, replaced by, dare I say it, happiness? My students are for the most part adorable and eager to learn. I am nice to them and they are nice back. 

Of course, I could still be reeling from the great lunch I had off campus a couple of weeks ago; or maybe it was the fact that I saw another couple of dear friends mid-week and got to hear terrific music in a beautiful hall, even though it was pissing rain outside and an otherwise grim day; or maybe it’s the fact that I am still working out at least three or four times a week, including mile walks in the woods on weekends; or maybe it’s the fact that a sudden Indian Summer allowed my husband and me one more excellent day in the boat on the lake. I am not sure, but my insistence on creating balance in my life this year seems to be paying off.

“Paying off” is a funny choice of words for one in this profession, since my pay has not moved in  the nine years I have been back in public school. In fact, I lost about 10, 000 bones, as a pal would say, because I lost the extra class I have taught every year prior to this one. My finances are, well, what’s the use of talking. We all know teachers are supposed to live on love and respect and asking for money makes us seem crass and unprofessional. Yet do we consider our doctors and lawyers and chiropractors, trainers, masseurs, hairdressers, electricians crass and unprofessional when they ask for their fees, fees to which our meagre per-hour rate cannot compare?

What’s funny is most people take teaching jobs because of the time it supposedly affords. But like many teachers I know, I had somehow managed to swamp myself and lose any semblance of free time. I took on the extra class at school and I took on an extra class or two at another school a couple of days a week and I took on a few private students and I give enough work to my students to keep me grading papers for hours on end each week. Yup, I took it all on. 

I still have most of this work, but that free period I get two out of the three-day class rotation has made all the difference. Breathing room, moments of silence, clearing the air--all these elements of civility are now part of my routine. So despite the embarrassing pay, the oppressive conditions, I come back to the importance of TIME, and I must say I feel a little richer for it indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment