Seriously. Teachers deserve some serious props for what they are able to get done during the day. (Chorus of "Amens", "You go on, girl!" "Tell it to them sister!" in the background here.)
The other day, I went to visit my girlfriend in the hospital after she had her baby. (Who is fabulously gorgeous.) (Note: Not being in the classroom provides one with something called "flexibility." This term applies mainly to one's time and how one goes about structuring one's day. If you are teaching right now, you may only understand this term as it is hissed at you to "be more flexible"...usually after some out-of-the-classroom someone has just made a ridiculous demand on your time. It is important to note that YOU are the only one being flexible and must therefore bend your needs and schedule to match someone else's agenda. I get it. After all, I spent eight years "being flexible" and it basically left me contorted beyond recognition. So this new found ability to be flexible with my time is, well, it's fabulous.) Back to my girlfriend. She already had her Blackberry out and was texting away, making calls and getting everything in order at home. Jokingly, I said to her, "Dude, you could rule the world with that thing," because, you know, she just had a BABY but was still on top of her game. And she was all, "You are insane. You've got a million things on your plate too."
And she's right. I do have a million things. I've got a (gulp) dissertation that needs finishing. (Anyone interested?) I've got a website to get together. I've got a "writing career" that needs tending to. I've got two classes to finish this semester. I've got some consulting on the side...you know, so I'm not out of the game all together. (I need a classroom fix from time to time and so far, this seems to be doing the trick.) I have reading to do, writing to do...SO MANY TO DOs! While I am in listing heaven, I also feel a bit all over the place. Too many balls in the air, so to speak, which can make it hard to be productive.
Yet when I was in the classroom, oh when I was IN THE CLASSROOM...there was no stopping me! None! I had all my balls in the air and was juggling like a fool! (Somewhere Mr. Mimi's head is exploding after I typed that line. Just keeping it real.) My Super Colleagues and I could have ran the freaking world if we wanted to, we were so productive. Seriously, we would run into one another getting off the subway and walk the remaining few blocks together, sipping coffee, talking about Grey's and you know, sauntering. We'd get to the building, sashay to the office, get our mail and then BAM! It was like a bell went off - we were MOVING. I mean, WORKING IT. That cup of coffee got put down and we were making copies, checking the calendar, getting last minute supplies together, frantically finishing said cup of coffee, dealing with emails, tidying up the dreaded piles that seemed to appear all over the classroom and oh yeah, don't forget watering the plants, vacuuming the carpet, sharpening pencils and getting the homework ready to go home. (insert heavy breathing here...I'm exhausted just typing this...HOW DID I DO THIS EVERY DAY?!) And people, I'm just talking about the morning. Before the kids. Before. The. Kids. Because then the kids actually arrive and it's go time. Go. Time. I mean, yeah, I always had a yogurt out on the back table that was totally intended to be my breakfast but did I ever get to it? Uh, no.
Do you have any idea how much crap I used to get done before noon? Or even, before lunch? (Which of course was really more like a late breakfast considering we ate at 11:00 because for some reason elementary schools tend to have a very odd sense of appropriate meal times.) If we could harness the productivity of a teacher, even on a bad day, we could have something. A new philosophy for the workplace! A better plan for getting things accomplished as a country! An alternative energy source even! Who knows what we could do with the as yet untapped potential of today's teacher? (insert me stepping down from soap box)
Okay. I'm off to channel my teacher self. I have a lot to get done today. I don't know why, but somehow doing so many things for so many little friends was a bit easier than doing all these things just for myself.