To-Do=Ta Da!

You too could wear these beauts!

You too could wear these beauts!

Just when I thought I was going to turn into the world’s slackeriest professor, I got my buns in gear and made a few to-do lists. And, to put things in perspective, I made a few to-done lists of things that I have already been doing, which just shows that I haven’t been on Pinterest as much as I thought (though too much for work hours, perhaps?). Working hard actually feels good, and I want to contribute to the general well-being of my students. I’m floating on cloud 9, today, after getting the opportunity to help one student get signed up for GED classes and for another student to begin processing some life experiences hindering their school performance. Being in the presence of such strong, motivated, beautiful people really is why I do this job! And much better than pushing paperwork around on my desk!

While I’m flying high in some respects, though, I am feeling a major caffeine/life-crash, which is probably due to Potamus’ new daycare germs in my mouth and hands and face from all his love-pats through the evening and night. His arms are getting longer and longer and it’s harder for me to squirm away (on our twin size mattress on the floor) when he wants to comfort himself by sticking his grubby little mitts in my mouth. My immune system is lagging, which I blame on daycare and the horrible Seattle January weather. Could it be any darker and rainier this week? I think not. The radio announcers said “sunrise will be at 7:55 this morning” on my commute and I almost groaned. 7:55? I will have been up for 3 hours+ by then, and when they say “sun up” they mean in California, because I’ve looked outside all day today and there has been no sun in sight. And if you respond to this with “yeah, but you live in Seattle,” you’ve clearly not visited us in the summer, when the birds are singing and the tourists are sweating through cheese-making tutorials at Pike’s Market.

Despite feeling less than 100%, which I’m scared to admit might become my new 100% as weariness begins settling into my bones, I have managed to keep at my Couch-5k running plan. I haven’t yet blogged about my running adventures because I’m always afraid to jinx things like this. But I am proud to say that I am halfway week 3 of the plan and so far it seems to be working at getting me in shape AND keeping me motivated to run. Because my go-to in the past went something like this: a) get the bright idea to run a 5k race, b) put on my running shoes, c) attempt to run a 5k TODAY, d) get to my mailbox, get winded, OR run for about 60 seconds down the road, get winded, walk home, e) feel like a tool for failing at something so “easy” as running a 5k (or even 1/4 of a mile), f) wake up the next morning sore and totally unmotivated to try again. Sound familiar? I’ve done silly things like that all the time, but this time it’s different. This time I’m motivated to run, but am only allowed to do it for 60 seconds, and then walk for 90. What?! The little carrot in front of me is getting closer and closer, and now I am up to 3 minutes in a row. WOO! I look ahead at week 5 or 6 and start to crap my pants (run for 28 minutes, wha?!!!), but know that it will happen in time. And the worst case is walking the 5k. It’s about DOING it, not running it faster than those Olympic runners.

In other news, Potamus is settling in to the daycare routine pretty nicely. He hasn’t been 100% himself, and it’s taking a little to adjust, though the adjustment AT daycare is going pretty well, it’s the adjustment to also going back to grandma’s that’s a little harder (more on her, than on him actually!). I’ve had Boof call and check on him at daycare, which helps me focus on work (because if I hear him crying in the background, I can’t focus and just want to run to him and snuggle him). I was expecting him to be more tired at night after a long day at daycare, but so far he’s been energetic when we get home (which is somewhat tiring for this mama!), and he’s been napping okay there, too (which I was worried that he’d nap TOO long out of overwhelm or not enough). His new favorite thing is dancing to the opening and closing credits of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Yes, I’m a terrible mom who lets my kiddo watch some TV. He LOVES the music. He dances and waves his hands in the air bollywood style and it is so stinking cute that I don’t care if it causes ADHD. He is just so happy, even when he’s been sick he still half-heartedly raises his hand and does this little shimmy when he hears his song.

Which has also led to his first word being hotdog. Because they do the “hotdog dance” and when we said hot dog, he said something like “hawtdg,” which wasn’t quite full-fledged hotdog, but so damn close we’re gonna have to count it as first real word (beside mama and dada). My baby is clearly a genius.

boy in red

 

What motivates you?

There have been times in my life where I have been more or less self-motivated to do a lot of work. Most of those times where I was overly motivated, it was because a lack of self-confidence in myself and a worry that I was going to be canned at any second. Times where I have been less-than motivated have usually been out of rebellion because of micro-management. I don’t always like to be told just to DO something, just to DO it. Ya know?

But in this job, I have quite a lot of autonomy and am able to do a lot at my own discretion. There are a few tasks when I am in the office on Mondays/Wednesdays that I am supposed to get done, like advising students and getting progress reports done, etc. The challenge is, I am working mostly alone, which isn’t my strong suit. I like doing things as a team, or at least being around others to bounce ideas off each other. Sitting alone in my office (yes, I’ve graduated from cubicle to my OWN (shared with my co-teacher) office), which is sometimes more isolating than helpful (except for student meetings). The challenge with this job, though, is that there is also not a lot of direction. I don’t actually have a job description, per se. The way I was hired was all sorts of weird (the job was posted for Tues/Thurs teaching. Then, when they offered me the job they told me about the Mon/Wed advising for hourly. Granted, because of my friend I HAD known that would be the gig, but still, it all seems shady to me).

I have drive and ambition and when I get to work I get overwhelmed with the different things I could be doing, and end up facebooking or looking at pinterest, or mostly just surfing around getting distracted. I don’t necessarily know what to do. At home I talk with Boof about it, and I get super excited and motivated to do things, to make a plan or a proposal for a method of advising or do something, but at work I slide to the lowest common denominator, which is pushing the food around on our plate pretending that we are eating. It was like this in sports, when I played on a team and we were playing a good team, I would rise to the challenge. But if we were playing a sloppy team, we tended to play less well. Now I don’t give myself enough credit, as I did see about 7 students today, even if only for a few minutes at a time, and have been prepping for class tomorrow, but I wish I was working on some type of project, and that I could be motivated daily to do it!

What motivates you when those around you don’t seem to be doing anything? I don’t want to be an overachiever or put so much on my plate that I am overworked, but I don’t want to just sit around doing nothing.

Thoughts?

First Week, Fall Quarter

Whew, what a whirlwind the last two weeks have been! I am happy to report that I have successfully completed my first week of teaching at a local community-turned 4 year- college!

In a quick turn of events, I was hired, gave my notice at my crisis-counseling job, and transitioned into this position that allows me the freedom and flexibility to be both a worker and a mother. I spend four days a week at the college, two of the days as an instructor and the other two as an advisor for 16-20 year old students who have dropped out of high school. The mix of kids is delightful. There’s the run of the mill “thug life” kids that bounced from school to school because of expulsions, suspensions, and pop-off attitudes. There are the little-house-on-the-prairie homeschool types, who wouldn’t dream of who have clearly excelled academically to a degree, but the somewhat intellectual arrogance has left them socially awkward and blowing out of regular high school. There are mothers, felons, medically fragile, procrastinators, and class clowns.

Regardless of the reasons behind dropping out, they are welcome here in our program, a 4 quarter structured program (much like a very scaffolded running start) where they are introduced to college and supported as they attempt to get an AA degree, or a transfer degree, or even a certificate in an area of focus. And I get the newbies, the ones who are first stepping into a college classroom and hoping to be changed.

Okay, that’s actually optimistic and lofty. Many of my kids are simply hoping to not fail again. And many of those intellectually arrogant are actually just trying to “jump through the hoop” of my class in order to gain access to their 2nd quarter where they can take an English class, and their 3rd quarter where they can “take the fun classes” (actual quote by a student today, as she pushed her glasses back up her nose).

My curriculum is intangible in so many ways. These students have been taught subjects, but in my class, I hope to give them the experience of learning about themselves in a different way. Because that’s what I learned in college…I learned to think outside of the black/white paradigm and analyze poetry and give my opinion on things without stuttering or wavering in discussion. Of course I will teach things like study skills and learning styles, but I hope they gain a sense of community at the end of it all.

My college self, the one who thought about being an English teacher,  but didn’t have the confidence to really finish that degree, is now standing in front of a college class, with unbridled freedom in planning and executing the teaching objectives. Want to watch an episode of Dirty Jobs to illustrate Career Development? No problem! Want to give “This I Believe” speech/essay assignment? Go for it! Want to design group work or have free-writes or listen to music lyrics? All acceptable.

And the best part, perhaps, is coming home at the end of the night, happily tired with enough emotional energy to drop to the rug and play with Potamus for a few hours until bedtime. While I’m not getting much sleep at night, thanks to full-on reverse cycling and Potamus nursing at least every 2 hours (if not more), I am happy. So happy.  But like a quietly contented happy.