Monday, January 16, 2012

A Much-Needed Break

Last week was a crazy one at school.  Not an atypical craziness, mind you, but rather the kind that reminds me that this is what work will be like for the next few weeks and/or months.

I spent most of my non-teaching time trying to arrange three field trips for the term.  Here's how it went:

1) Contact the theater to get potential dates and prices.
2) Float dates and prices to class, make sure all are on board without schedule/financial conflicts.
3) Propose idea to principal, two secretaries, assistant-principal, and athletic director.
4) Principal and all approve, call back theater to book tickets.
5) Theater informs me that they have since sold out of that performance.  Would another date work?
6) Repeat ad nauseum.

It truly took me at least three rounds of that procedure to schedule just one field trip.  The fact that I was trying to make three happen just compounded the issue.  When the athletic director at our school pulled me out of rehearsal after school Friday to inform me that a district championship basketball game has been scheduled for the same night as a drama class play (which I scheduled back in August), I had reached my wits' end (or is it "wit's end"?  Is there more than one wit?).  He told me we could do both at once, but I pointed out that the gym shares a wall with the theater, and when there's a game on thumping and cheering echoes through as clear as day.  Grr.

I'll go back to the calendaring mess tomorrow and keep trying to sort out schedules.  It's one of those things that would be so much easier if the school just maintained a shared and constantly-updated online calendar, but they will not break away from their old habits (that is, two separate calendars managed by two separate people kept in paper form on their desks).

Thus I welcomed this weekend with open arms.  I had very little I had to do this weekend, so I did an awful lot of what I wanted to do - I read 2.5 books (one of which had me sobbing in bed at 1:00 AM.  Literally sobbing.  Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful book.  But it's about two teenagers with cancer, so you can just imagine), played Zelda, watched Downton Abbey, did some housekeeping chores, joined Rachel for Zumba at her rec center, spoiled myself on a Whole Foods grocery store run with a basketful of delicious produce, and so on.

Zumba was a first for me.  It wasn't my favorite kind of workout - it caused too much stress and tension because I focused too much on trying to do the dance steps correctly.  The teacher wasn't great at giving cues, and I'm not very good at just relaxing and dancing (something the instructor kept yelling at us to do).  The tenser I got, the more stressed I became about not relaxing.  I wasn't anywhere near keeping up with the instructor or Rachel, but I did hold my own against the grannies in the back row.  While it wasn't a workout routine I'll seek out in the future, it was a good one and I enjoyed working out with a buddy.  It reminded me once again how much happier and healthier I feel when I have enough time to put in a solid workout.

I'm not looking forward to going back to being crazy-busy tomorrow, but I can handle a four-day week with the promise of a weekend with my parents at the end of it.  I just have to do an evening with all of the speech parents before I get to see my own.

Because of the loss of several speech programs in schools across the state, our calendar of meets has been a lot lighter this year.  While I for one am thrilled about losing less Saturdays to 14-hour speech meets, the team really does need another one before State.  We had one at the beginning of December, then nothing until the beginning of January, then nothing until the big one at the end of the month.  It's too long of a stretch to keep up their skills and performances.  There were a few schools hosting this weekend and next weekend, but they are all over 3.5 hours away.  I put my foot down, not wanting to stomach a 3-4 hour bus ride across the Rockies in January.

As a compromise, I offered instead to host what I titled a "Sweet Speech State Send-off."  This Wednesday the team is doing a pot-luck dessert bar and performing their State events for parents and whoever else wants to come.  I'm keeping it as low-key as possible, but I think having a "public" performance will give the students the focus they need to work on their pieces before the next and last competition of the season.  Hopefully.

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