Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday: Coffee and a Sunny Chair


Tomorrow I will be in meetings most of the day; we meet our new principal (the third since our school opened in 2004) and a new assistant principal.  We have a week of teacher work days, then the students begin on Monday, August 16th.  Summer went by so quickly.  I loved having so much free time for reading and for spending time with my family.  The constant pain in my right shoulder totally disappeared (I believe that ailment is called "teacher's shoulder" and comes from the heavily laden book bags I lug back and forth).  I'm hoping for a smaller student load this year (last year I had 160 students) so that I can give my students' work the time and attention they deserve.  I love my teaching schedule (more about that in another post) and I'm really looking forward to meeting and getting to know my new students.  And, let's face it, in this economy, I'm so lucky to have a job....

This week I finished reading Driftless by David Rhodes (review to come soon).  I'm about halfway through the galley for Nashville Chrome by Rick Bass (review to come soon), and I'm also reading The Best American Short Stories 2009 based on Melissa's recommendation (The Betty and Boo Chronicles).  Melissa's blog is one that I count on for excellent content and recommendations, and she raved about Steve De Jarnatt's story "Rubiaux Rising" recently--I will probably read that story today.

In the coming weeks professional reading will probably nudge some of my reading for pleasure out of the way.  I will kick things off with a book by Jim Burke, one of my favorite teacher-writers:  Effective Instruction is only 120 pages, but it will help me start thinking about what I need to do in the classroom this year to help my students be successful.  I will probably also reread Kelly Gallagher's short book Readicide this week.

Chi Running (by Danny Dreyer with Katherine) is a book that has been on my shelf for some time; a dog-eared page shows that I got about a quarter of the way into this book at some point.  The book is a guide to "effortless, injury-free running" and I plan to begin reading it again.  I know that having a good exercise program is essential to keeping my sanity during the school year.  Every job comes with its stresses, and teaching is no exception.  My biggest problem is probably the inability to turn off my thinking and disengage from my job when I get home.  My job becomes my life to a somewhat frightening extent, and this year I intend to try to create some balance for myself.

Any other teachers out there getting ready for the new school year?  How do you create balance while performing your job, regardless of your occupation?  I'd be interested to hear!


Frances said...

I find that the balance comes a little easier with each year of teaching. Maybe I am more comfortable with my craft or am teaching my material for a multiple time and my knowledge is deeper now or kids are seconf nature to me now or... You know how this goes. Teaching chops just kind of evolve organically I think. Not always easy to see where you are headed until you arrive. If that makes any sense. Best wishes for a great year in the classroom with lots of personal reading time!

Lisa said...

Wow--that's quite the turnover in administration! As if going back to work, facing a whole new group of students isn't hard enough. Good luck!

bibliophiliac said...

@Frances--sounds like you have it all in balance already!
@Lisa-yeah, and faculty turnover has been just as impressive!

Molly said...

Lisa mentioned your blog in her post today, and I had to check out a fellow teacher :)

I begin teacher meetings next week, with students returning on August 23. I teach at a small, private school, so while I do not have nearly the number of students, there are other difficulties (most financial compensation) associated with my chosen career path. I wouldn't have it any other way, though.

I look forward to following your posts in the future!

Lesa said...

This is the first day back for kids and my first day as well-- I don't do the teacher work days since I'm an independent contractor (speech path). New principal too and some faculty changes but it was all done 'in house' so no newbies to break in.

I'm always ready for the next new thing so I'm always excited for summer and excited for school to start-- but I'm really ready this year. Since my dad passed away right in the middle of summer, I've been in limbo--- so I'm really ready for a change of scene. Yay, school!!

As for balance, not being a classroom teacher, I don't have planning to do or papers to grade so once I leave school it is usually out of my mind till the next morning.

Happy School Year!

Priya Parmar said...

wow. 160 students? i cannot imagine the sheer weight of that workload. i have six and have so little time to write. do you have a time of day that is just for you?

ps: my student loved your beautiful hymn to middlemarch, as did i!

bibliophiliac said...

@Lesa-I hope work will help you heal, and hope you have a great school year!
@Priya--it looks like my student load will be more reasonable this year--and I'm glad your student liked my post; maybe he will stick with the novel....