I've almost made it through two weeks without a full time teaching gig. And I gotta say...it's awesome. I've been able to pick up somewhere between 15-20 hours each week of shifts at the Writing Center at various Omaha Metro Community College campuses, I'm being added to sub lists at Millard, Bennington, and Fort Calhoun, so hopefully I'll be able to sub in a few weeks. I'm even judging a speech meet (like the good ole days of my first two years of teaching) on Friday night for some extra cash.
I've had time to clean my house, grocery shop, make meals, write, run, play guitar, make bread (yeah...I'm making my own bread now...Sara Lee can shove it up her butt), read, run errands, and visit the kids' classrooms, and after I pick the kids up from school I'm physically free and mentally ready to spend time with them. I'm even able to keep the kids at home longer in the mornings. When I was teaching, I dropped them off at 7 AM each morning to make it to work in time (they don't start school until 9). Today they slept in until 6:15, and I kept them home until 8:20 and dropped them off on my way to work this morning. Until the end of February, Nate's schedule is busy with musical rehearsals in the evenings and honor choirs on the weekends, and I haven't been stressed about it because I'm not juggling kids, maintaining a home, and grading over 300 things each week.
It has taken me a few weeks to escape panic mode--I wasn't panicking about not having a job, I just always felt like I was forgetting something. My adult life has never been this free before..hell, even when I was in high school, I was stretched thin. Training my brain to calm down and chill out has been difficult, but I think I'm finally "settled" in my new routine. I love being able to serve my family and put their needs first. Perhaps I'm still in the honeymoon phase, but I haven't been this happy in a long time...
A blank screen waiting to be filled with typface seems fitting for a few cliche reasons: 1) It's a new year and B) I'm at a new point in my life. I am a blank screen waiting to be filled with a new story....GAG. What a cliche....but...it's sorta true. I've reached a new point in life that is both freeing and frightening. For all of my adult life (all 8 years of it) I've been either moving towards teaching or teaching. While my recent move away from teaching full time is necessary, I'm nervous. My brain is naturally inclined towards thinking of unit plans and lessons and writing ideas and journal prompts. Most of what I talk about with just about everyone revolves around my job. I found myself today with a few spare hours kid free, and normally I'd fill that time with grading or planning or emailing, but today---nothing. Should I nap? Read? Watch multiple episodes of Gilmore Girls? Play guitar? My options were open for the first time in quite a while. It was freaky and unsettling and very refreshing. It's going to feel even more weird when Nate goes back to school on Monday and I don't. All this nonsense aside, I have noticed that without the commitment of full time teaching, I have more patience for my children. I've wanted to actually play with them, and I've been willing and able to take them to two public places that crawl with children (a place filled with bouncy inflatable obstacle type contraptions AND the children's museum) all within 24 hours. I've noticed that I've yelled less at my kids; I'm well-rested, and I've made actual meals for dinner and not frozen, pre-made junk. While this new identity thing is a bit uncomfortable and will take some getting used to, I'm looking forward to attacking the cliche blank screen metaphor.