Monday, November 17, 2014

Eeyore Days

I know November is supposed to be the "attitude of gratitude" month for bloggers, but I'm having a hard time getting into it today. It's kind of an Eeyore day. Today's topic is to reflect on one thing that's different today than it was a year ago, and why I'm happy about that.

But it's hard to start writing about that when I feel like this donkey.

 

Maybe Eliot was wrong. Maybe November is the cruelest month for writing teachers. There's definitely a somber mood out there in Language and Literature Land. I feel so behind. Some students have dropped, and many others have hit panic mode, trying out their various desperate strategies: emotional appeals, denial, threats, and more. I spent the weekend grading two stacks of papers and prepping for the projects we're starting this week, leaving the house only once to go out to dinner with the man.

If I felt on top of things that would be one thing. But I don't. I still feel so behind, like everything has spiraled out of control.

So, here's my attempt to address the prompt of the day. If I'm out of control and behind, that means I have to turn things over to the students and trust them a little more. Maybe I should just lean into this discomfort, as Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron instructs us to do: be honest and open with the students about how burnt out we all probably feel at this point, how even though we're behind and tired we need to keep going, and to trust them to take control of their projects with less guidelines from me than I'm used to providing. Maybe I can be OK with the results, however chaotic the journey is and how much confusion and uncertainty we all have to sit in.

Now that would be different from last year.

4 comments:

Henry Aronson said...

All of the above, Yolkster.

Dan said...

Like. :0)

Grumpy said...

Though it grates, I can live with being behind. What dismays me at this point is as my energy flags, so does that of the students. It's like the limp leading the limper: my pompoms have gone soggy, and the students aren't watching anyway. (I'm trying out completely new curriculum this semester, so there's no go-to bag of tricks. I know that exploring the new is good, but right now I'm hatin' it.)

Elisa said...

"The limp leading the limper"--I love it, Grumpy! So, so true. Thanks for stopping by.