Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mini Vacation and my Sanity

Snow day, version 3.0.

I suppose all in all, this is an extremely good thing. We got 13 inches of snow and all of yesterday I didn't leave my apartment. I just holed it in with the cat and the electric blanket and caught up on some extremely much needed sleep and brain-dead time. I didn't bother to go outside and play in the snow because then I'd have to look at my car and see how buried it was under the snow.

The point there being that I live in an apartment complex that plows. That sounds great until they plow the snow past your car and you now have a wall of snow holding your car in. At 5am. And you really need to get across town to a school by 6 to organize a classroom for the day. Did I mention that I find mornings annoying?

Actually, that's not true. I'm an insomniac and I have been all my life. I don't sleep well, wake up frequently, don't fall asleep easily (especially when stressed), don't stay asleep easily (especially when stressed), and I wake up early (especially when stressed). My mother used to call it the "mom gene." When we're nervous, we wake up. I've almost never needed an alarm clock in my life because I wake up 5 to 10 minutes before it goes off every day. When I'm nervous, I wake up 1 to 2 hours before it goes off. For some odd reason, it's worse for me when the sun is up. I feel the weight of my lack of sleep more when I wake up to the sun's rays than if I wake up and it's still dark out. Maybe it's a biological rhythm or maybe it's psychological... I don't know. I do know that waking up at 5 am is a lot easier than waking up at 9am when I've gotten 5 hours of sleep. Go figure.

These days I tend to get very little sleep. I have about 150 students to keep track off and every day they turn in at least one assignment each. Multiply that by 5 days a week and add to that the research for the lessons and time to create them, and prep time to copy, set them up, and whatever else is needed and you have my time just for teaching. Add to that the time for my graduate studies and you have the rest of my life.

Again, I love my job. I mentally equate this to the time during a doctor's training called "residency." It's when they first start to work all hours of shifts and are basically the slaves of their departments while they try and earn their stripes in hopes of getting a good gig. First year teaching is like that. These transition to teaching programs are more like a doctor's residency. They are not for the faint of heart.

Just ask my cat who watched me fall asleep on my keyboard of my laptop last night with my glasses on on top of a book and a deck of cards I was shuffling for stress relief. It was just past 11pm on my night off. I woke up at 2am with my glasses smushed onto my face, the light on, the laptop asleep, and my cat curled around my shoulder - purring. Sometimes you just have to laugh.

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