Sunday, January 17, 2016

Sabbaticals are the Devil: They Offer False Hope and a Horrific Window of What Life is Like on the Other Side

I totally knew how good I had it while I had it. Yes, I promised 40 hours of professional development to various schools in Connecticut. Yes, I presented a few conferences and conducted a couple of workshops. I know that I was pulled to CWP-Fairfield reporting and meetings that I couldn't avoid. Yet, from September to December, I had my first taste, ever, of time. I walked the dog. I watched football games with Chitunga. I spent hours writing, thinking, and reading. It was seven days a week, but I allowed myself opportunities to catch a movie, to meet for dinner, or simply to cook, clean and/or chill at home.

That is gone. Now I feel like a dog being closed into a backyard, only to be limited in what I'm able to do in a given day. The collar and chains are back: classes, meetings, dossiers, students, teaching, emails, egos, demands, rudeness, toxicity, and stress. Granted, I kept rather busy with my "time off for research," but I did taste what grass is like on the other side - that is, when one has glimmers of not being at a keyboard's demand every second of the day.

And I slept well, too.

Since arriving back to the work on January 2, it's been a blur. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours on syllabi, knowing that tomorrow a grant needs to be completed, and MLK day must be spent revising a paper.

I still say that academic life is an easy road compared to K-12 teaching (and it me), but the world of the tower prevents its own set of stressors. There's so much work to be done (read urban schools falling apart, the ridiculous of corporate reform, the disconnect between standards and what students really need as lifelong learners, and our horrible, horrible assessments).

Ah, but I'll get through it. I need to keep it all in perspective as 2016 already has presented the unpredictability in life - we just never know and we need to enjoy every precious second while we have it. Perhaps the trick is to move away from a type A personality, to the facade of a postmodern hippie I used to perform as a beginning teacher.

I'm chill. Really, I am chill.

Not. Breathe in. Breathe out. I think I would be more in the groove of the ridiculousness of it all if I didn't taste just a little semblance of a normal life (if there is such a thing).

And Glamis. She's watching me type with a tennis ball in her mouth. "Throw it to me," her eyes are saying. "Come on, let's wrestle."

When I don't...she puts her paws on my keyboard and I get ][]\]]p][o][l'p[.]o-=o. Whatever that means.

Sunday, day of work for me. It's all good.

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