Week one of Great Valley Writing Project Summer Institute is behind me. To be honest, this is harder than I thought it would be. Not because of the writing involved (and there's LOTS of it, but I take to that like a duck to water) but because I'm beginning to question if I was as good a teacher as I thought I was. I'm left soul searching and self-evaluating and am not at all happy with a lot of the way I've been doing things in my classroom. In my efforts to please my school administration, I've made a concentrated effort to incorporate huge swaths of what they wanted into my teaching, grading and classroom in general. And so, got applause from my "bosses." I also managed to do some of what I myself thought was important, so got praise from other teachers for that. Things felt pretty good and I thought I was doing OK in balancing things...all right; I had my doubts, but was able to look the other way.
This week, there was no chance of looking away -- I realized that I've veered so far off of good teaching that I'm wondering if I have the time this late in my career to reinvent myself as a teacher. It's that bad. I'm embarrassed for myself. Isn't that an awful way to feel at the end of the first week of the Institute? I thought I'd feel warm and fuzzy and validated...
I know that I must and will get back into balance again. That change and growth is generally uncomfortable and can be painful. That I am a good teacher. I just need to be a better one. We'll see how I feel after a weekend of being blessedly home. Right now, my heart is heavy and I'm still licking my wounds. I was so tired and out of it when I got home yesterday afternoon that I couldn't find my car keys to hang them on the hook by the back door. I went back out to the car to see if I'd left them there. Indeed I had. They were still in the ignition and the motor was running.
However...I'm home, and that's doing me all the good in the world. Every afternoon I'd get home just in time to water the gardens, take care of the animals and then set to work on lessons for the institute as it grew dark. I've been neglecting Frogpond.
One thing though: I'm filled with gratitude that yesterday our two wonderful cleaning ladies came and got to work. When I got home, the floors gleamed, the furniture glowed and the bathrooms sparkled. Such a blessing!
Today I'm just catching up, but at my own pace.
This afternoon Mama is coming up and we'll be celebrating her birthday with lentil salad, steak, and homemade lemon cake.
For some reason, I decided that today was the day I'd sort through the mess of cds and dvds that had piled up in our TV cabinet. I matched the cases with the disks for all of them except four. If you'd seen the pile I was working with, you'd understand why this was such an achievement
Two loads of laundry washed, hung out to dry, and then folded and put away.
It appears that the boy-cats had a tiring week too. Here they are together on the bed, recuperating from whatever.
Bruce went to town this morning and will be returning home with sushi for a late lunch. I still have a lemon cake to bake and the house will smell delicious. In a few hours Mama is due to arrive to spend the night. We're all safe and together and I'm surrounded by love.
I'll feel better soon.