Sydney was sitting calmly in my arms this afternoon. A slimy hand knotted around my hair, and the other fist appropriately shoved as far in to his mouth as possible. We're teething. He watched the snow fall out the patio doors. He loves to watch the flakes float softly to the pile of still unmelted snow on our back patio - he takes after his Daddy in that sense - anything water will calm Steve, and apparently the same holds true for Sydney.
So, he's watching the snow, and I made sure to take a few photos. I ruminated about how this would probably be the last time he saw real snow until he was about 5 years old. My first year teaching high school was in 2005. That's the last time I recall getting anything near this amount of snow - or rather, snow days. We have, since then, suffered through La Nina and a rather severe drought before El Nino hit this year, ending the drought and bringing all this glorious white. I grew up in Wisconsin, so this truly is beautiful in my eyes, though I'm glad I haven't had to go out in it at all.But the extra time off has also afforded me a chance to ponder random thoughts, as well. And Balance is at the forefront. Has been for awhile. Five years ago, it was balancing the change from collegiate academia to the public school system.
Four years ago, I was teaching at two schools within the same system - split every day, teaching 2 classes at one school in the morning and 3 classes at another school that afternoon. Balance with my responsibilities to both schools, both administrative staffs, to both demographics of students. I was also coaching two sports that year. Oiy.
Three years ago, I was teaching a demographic of student I had absolutely no experience with - they could not be handled the way I normally conducted my classes. I had to find balance between my convictions, my intentions, and my battles. But I did finally begin to force myself to take time for - myself. I joined a gym and loved getting out of class and heading over to a date with the elliptical and treadmill.
Last year, new prep, again, and new textbooks to boot. Just as I started to feel comfortable with my lessons, I had to relearn the textbook. Not all that difficult, but I couldn't just coast on what I had developed before. And, not necessarily a bad thing. Just...different. But I held true to the gym dates, and finally began to make progress on a few battles I had with repercussions from some medication I had been taking. Then, we got pregnant.
This year - well, we're undergoing construction, which is difficult to contend with any way, but kind of fun, too - there's always something to watch build up. Or get torn down. Cement mixers fascinated me when I was a kid, and now I have one parked outside one of my classroom's windows. Oh, yes...I have my classes spread out, which I know is also something common and nothing I can't handle. But that doesn't mean it isn't a pain. And I have my son.
Balance. Even if we didn't have construction and I didn't have 4 classrooms, finding balance between me (the school teacher) and me (the wife and mom) has been difficult, to say the least. I find myself wondering what job I might enjoy that makes use of my skills and talents but also doesn't require me to bring my job home with me at night and on the weekends. But then I stop and think of how I have 2 months off of active duty during the summer. I say 'active duty' because I am a glutton for punishment and I will still review all my lessons, files, etc. during the summer to tweak. And I will plan. Goodness gracious I plan. I sift through what I've stolen from others and alter. Yes, I said stolen. The primary goal of a teacher is to touch the lives of his/her students. The secondary goal is to beg, borrow, and steal whatever is useful from other teachers - even in different fields. And I love my family at my high school, because none of us hoard. We throw our plans at each other, excitedly spout off what new and shockingly effective lessons we've encountered that could be changed to suit X, Y, and Z. We're all such English geeks, and I say that with the utmost love and respect for each and every one of them.
But, I digress. 2 months off - with my son. I can't think of anything more glorious. And he'll be just ready to walk, which means he'll be so much fun. I can't wait to have that time, though I am by no means wishing the time away because he's already grown so quickly, and he's our only.