Confession: I’m not very organized. If you know me well, you are laughing right now. If you are someone who was mistakenly under the impression that I must be pretty organized to do all the things I do, you’d be grossly overestimating me.
When I was a teacher without being a mother, I could stay at school till 6pm every day and make sure I got everything done. Now that I am a teacher and a mother, I am struggling. I stay 45 minutes to an hour after school’s out every day and then pick up my son from high school. I bring work home with me that usually gets halfway done, or I get as much done as possible and call it a night at midnight. In the meantime, my classroom has piles of papers needing to be filed or handed back or thrown away.
Me, when I was younger, cuter, and had more time to organize.
I come home and there’s laundry and papers to sign and bills to pay. (Thankfully, the husband does most of the bills now that I’m working.) There are always dishes to do, and I need to workout and stop eating candy (thanks, Halloween!)
Every morning I try to get out the door EARLY so I can make copies and get things ready for the morning. Every morning I’m so exhausted from working late at night that I’m struggling to get out the door to be exactly on time (which is still 20 minutes before school starts, and is still not enough). Every day I tell myself that today will be better and somehow someway it’s not.
When I first taught, I never had to worry about district assigned trimester assessments, performance tasks, or online behavior assessments for the district. I had textbooks for every class, and an actual curriculum to follow. Now, we have no real Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum. Instead I’m given standards to work on and then the students get “assessed.” The “curriculum” is “Hey teacher, try to figure out how to do this on your own.” It’s ridiculously frustrating and difficult.
When I was hired, one thing that seemed to impress my principal-to-be was that I had organized a big overnight field trip for all my children and that I was willing to do the same for the students at my school. 59 students in the classes. I begged and pleaded and bothered the camp until they found 40 spots for us. I sent home letters (in English and Spanish), held a meeting at night, sent home packets, reminded, cajoled, rewarded students for bringing their paperwork in time. Our due date for our deposit came and went. I asked for more time, as I had 4 students who had turned in paperwork and $ and nothing else. I sent home emails. I reminded. Weeks later and I still only have 17 students out of 40 (out of 58). I’m not entirely sure what is going to happen, but I’m really disappointed that I’ve worked so hard to bring this trip to our school and there’s such a lack of interest and excitement.
I have a talkative class. They get easily distracted. They fool around, eat in class, and walk around. They talk back. They give me attitude. They question everything I do. They were mad that I didn’t bring THEM treats on MY birthday. They question why they can’t get on chrome books and why I am giving them a quiz. When I switch their seats, they throw fits about who they have to sit next to. They use language they shouldn’t and they take far too long to get in one straight line. But somehow I still love them all and I still want them to have this field trip, dammit!
Today I found out that I have an assessment due tomorrow. I had no idea. Thankfully it’s not a task I have to prepare them for, but it’s still something that I wasn’t prepared for and that will throw everything off tomorrow.
As I sit at my dining room table that is piled with mail and lunch boxes and papers and abandoned water bottles, I think about how I’ve managed to fail at everything today.
Step one: Start off with less than 6.5 hours of sleep.
Step two: don’t get to school in time to completely rearrange all the desks, so the students walk in to this mess:
which of course makes them go completely nutty because, “Where do we sit?!!”
Step 3: Find out your students have to take an assessment you should have known about but didn’t.
Step 4: Panic and go talk to a veteran teacher about how freaked out you are during lunch.
Step 5: Not realize lunch is over when you’re talking to said teacher and as you head back to the classroom a few minutes late, see that the vice principal (who you’re not entirely sure even likes you in the first place) is standing outside your door with arms crossed, surely judging you because you’re late.
Step 6: Accidentally text your son on his iPad instead of his phone, so he doesn’t get your text saying you’re leaving a few minutes late to pick him up.
Step 7: Get home the exact time the piano teacher is pulling up to the house so that your son doesn’t have time to practice before his lesson.
Step 8: Have to tell the piano teacher you weren’t able to order the piano book she asked you to get for your daughter.
Step 9: Weigh yourself after not working out for 2 months.
Step 10: Eat chocolate, or drink wine. Either is acceptable, because at this point, it’s the end of the day and you’re exhausted.
Bonus: At 9pm, as your son is getting into bed, you realize you need to wash his gym clothes for school tomorrow. (or you don’t have anything for your daughter to wear for picture day)