I Smell Fall

The windows are all open in my townhouse and the only sounds are the sounds of the wind rustling through the trees and the gurgle of water in my fish tank. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s a little reminder that it’s okay and necessary to just sit and be.

I haven’t taken much time for myself this last month. I hit the ground running at the beginning of August, just days after my final day as a graduate assistant. Orientation day. Professors, PowerPoints, new vocabulary, teacher candidates, university supervisors. Pre-service week. People standing in front of me with more PowerPoints and more educational vocabulary to learn. Teachers sitting next to me who have been teaching two years, twenty years, more years than they care to admit, all here to learn. Lunches with new colleagues. A whole new set of faces to learn, to familiarize myself with. Learn. Learn. Learn. First week of school. New faces to learn. 15- and 16-year-olds. Confident, not so confident, funny, angry, sad, hungry, bored, mature, immature, ready to learn, not ready to learn. Lesson plans, pre-service instructive mentor teachers, lunches where you cram your food in and greet students for your next class between gulps of hot tea. Quick breaks between classes where you get to speak to adults for three minutes, sharing quick zingers that only teachers would get. Early mornings where there’s only time for a shower and a quick breakfast. Coffee has swapped from being leisurely enjoyed in my favorite coffee mug to being quickly gulped down during planning period where I’m learning to develop plans at a fast pace. Plans that are carefully laid out are thrown to the wind on a regular basis due to interruptions – the Marine guy who would like to speak with the class about ROTC, the student council members who want to talk about what’s coming up this year, the office needs this student, that student. Pardon the interruption, but can you send your teacher candidate to the office to meet with their university supervisor? How many students today have gone on the field trip? Ms. so-and-so is coming in today to talk about colleges. No planning necessary for that day. Wait, she went on the field trip. Looks like a writing day is in store for the students. Today is club day – only half a class period will be available to teach. I am learning to roll with the punches, to prepare for anything, to over-plan, to not sweat the small stuff, to be sure not a second goes by where students have nothing to do. Plan for the interruptions, plan for the short days, plan for the regular days, plan for the days that were supposed to be long and are now short, plan for the days that were supposed to be short and are now long. Plan, plan, plan. Plan for the edTPA video-taping, plan for Task 1, Task 2, Task 3. Plan for the activity due for class. Plan for graduation coming up in a few months. My plans are in my head, scratched out on notebook paper, and entered into the computer.

For now, I’m sitting. Enjoying the breeze coming through my front window. Enjoying the gurgle coming from my fish tank. Leisurely drinking coffee from my favorite cup, the mocha scent idly wafting through the air, the crisp, clean air drifting through my windows, quietly reminding me that fall is just around the corner.

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