January 27, 2010

Making time for ME amidst a storm of staff development and ISAT prep

Today was an early-release day for staff development--those definitely have their pros and cons! 

Pros: an extra 5 minutes for lunch, going out to lunch with some of the staff, actually getting to sit down and use the bathroom whenever I want, not having to plan a whole day, spending time with my team.
Cons: frequently boring, nothing to keep me awake (like frantically teaching as I normally am), occassionally a waste of my time, plan time sacrificed.

 While this meant less to prepare for the day, it took away all the time I usually use during the day to plan for tomorrow!  Since I leave RIGHT at the end of staff development Wednesdays to go work with my little autistic kiddo, I didn't even get to clear off my desk or print my lesson plans before I left.  Leaving without the next day's materials and plans all set always leaves me a little bit stressed.  By the time I got home from work today, I was starting to get pretty nervous about being prepared for tomorrow.  I know that's silly-sounding, but with the way my math lessons have gone the past few days, and with having a sub for Friday that I have to figure out on top of it all, I'm not sure my nervousness was unfounded.  Once an anxiety-ridden person, always an anxiety-ridden person! 

Anyways, I got my plans in order, but as I started reading the extended responses from a reading ISAT practice I gave the kids Monday, my stomach started sinking.  If these prompts are any indicator, I am 99% sure that the majority of my kids will not meet on ISATs.  Yiiiikes.  They were...not good.  After all the work we have done on them, I'm not sure what's happening, and I can't help but feel a bit like a failure.  What went wrong?  What haven't I done?  Honestly, what I think is happening is that when they write an extended response on its own, they take their time and do alright.  But when it's combined with multiple choice, they rush and answer it like it's just a short response question, forgetting all our "In the text..." and "this reminds me..." practice.  Sooo...in these last rapidly depleting days before THE TEST, I guess all I can do is keep reminding them of what they've learned and keep practicing.  I never understood why teachers got so freaked out about standardized tests, and even now I still can't explain to my non-teacher friends why this happens.  However, I am now one of those teachers.  To the college professors who told me, "Just teach your best all year and your students will be fine," YOU WERE WRONG!!

Anyways.  After all this, I decided to actually make time for me for a change by spending some quality time with my wii fit.  Believe it or not, I am NOT left with the lingering feeling after of, "Oh, I should have been using that time for something constructive instead of working out..." I actually am feeling LESS stressed and thoroughly enjoyed the workout.  Yay!  Yesterday I decided to go for a run at the gym when I left work, and it had a similar effect.  Isn't it strange how when I actually take time I could be using to get work done and use it for something constructive, I feel less on edge than I would have if I kept working?  I guess it's true that we all need breaks sometimes!  Who knew?

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