Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bell Lap

It's that time of the year on campus where things get crazy. It's like the bell lap in a crit: a slight lull in action followed by a crazy surge. You go from 5th wheel, sitting in and feeling great, to being swallowed-whole by racers playing a different, and perhaps smarter, card.

November was a bit crazy but Thanksgiving break, coupled with a series of minimum days for parent conferencing, gave me a false sense of security. All of my paperwork looked good, my lessons were solid, and things felt organized.

That's until you get back.

The first week of December was full-speed ahead. Like a punch in the throat, new kids just showed up. 10 students exited the school before break and, when we returned, 10 new students had taken their place. 7 of these students had IEPs. Paperwork death. But, we are what we are. And in that vein, I decided to complain more, eat more, and ride my bike less.

My complete lack of fitness was confirmed by the fact that my front row call-up at the district championships proved useless after the first lap. First lap, heart rate pinned, thinking to myself, "you know, it would've been nice to at least get on the trainer after those long days at work."

I thought about all the weird stress eating I was doing. All the weird foods you pack into your belly when things go wrong, grades get messed up, papers get lost, or when the people living in the apartment above you start acting like idiots. All of those things. They all equal stress. And stress equals cookies. And noodles. And chicken.

I'm still not sure what will come of special education in my future. So as to make things specialized our government created different sections of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in order to make sure that teachers personalize each student's education. The problem is, there is no budget to hire the many teachers needed to make education a personalized experience. I have 31 kids on my caseload. There is not enough time in the day to give each student what they need, much less to give these students personalized attention to develop individual skills.

And so all of that means that racing bikes is pushed back. It's just a silly hobby, but at times, competition of any sort is a necessity. I need to feel like I'm training for some sort of athletic endeavor in order to get through these work slumps. I feel devastated at times because, though I'm lucky to have this job, it is this weird American "work 'till you drop" mentality that is slowly eating away at my spirit. We'll see how things end in June.

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