I have spent many long hours at work, in the evenings and on weekends when the building was empty, on winter days when I was never outside during daylight, on holidays when there was not even a mouse rustling around. Well, there might have been a few scurrying through the hanging ceiling. I would ask myself why I hadn’t mastered the 9 or 10 hour day, after all these years. Why I was one of a handful of teachers working every weekend- and most of them were first year folks. One reason: I wanted everything to be perfect, which automatically adds a couple of hours to anything I do. Second reason: I would use my planning time during school hours, such as it was, to schedule extra sessions with kids or meetings with teachers and parents. I never seemed to approach any task with the kind of organization and efficiency of most teachers. Third reason: My lesson plans were complicated; they seemed to grow wildly in all directions, with a life of their own. I had so many ideas, so little time.
Teacher workdays and Sunday afternoons were the worst. I would make a list of my top 100 projects to complete. Then I would flit from idea to idea, leaving stacks of materials, sticky notes, pages to copy, and materials to find. After a few hours, my room liked like a storm had blown through, scattering anything not bolted down. By 5:00, I’d panic, staring in disbelief at the room. By 8:00, my husband was calling me, telling me to come home. By 10:00, he was at the door, keeping me safe and prodding me along. I shed a few tears, hunted for my to-do list, and started stacking all the unfinished work. Most of it was “hidden” in a closet so the kids wouldn’t be distracted by toppling mounds of “stuff.” Great stuff, by the way. Stuff I would scatter around the room on the next Sunday afternoon.