Celebrate Extra Time and Space

Every week Ruth Ayers invites bloggers to celebrate their week by focusing on about the big and the small things worth holding up and celebrating. Thank you Ruth for this lovely ritual. Read more celebrations here.celebrate link upToday I celebrate the time and space created by summer. As a teacher, the school year is very time driven. We eek all we can out of every minute. And we get a lot done. But with that pressure, that efficiency, we loose a bit of mind space that allows for possibility and growth. Today I celebrate all that can go with the extra time and space that summer allows.

1. Conversations. In the hurry of the school year, I maintain friendships with a text, a wave, a promise to get together, but in the end, while I mean to take the time, I often can’t or maybe just don’t. I say, next week, tomorrow. All of a sudden, time has slipped by and it hasn’t happened. With a little less schedule, I stop and talk. Today I celebrate two long conversations and how the ebb and flow, the back and forth that goes with it can move your thinking and lift your heart.

2. My desk. I’m one of those teachers who cleans up their classroom and brings a lot home. Because I need to read it, organize it, cull through it, re think it in a thoughtful manner.  The upshot of this is that my desk, in the corner of my bedroom, is inundated with charts, books, papers, more books, files, stacks and stacks of things to go through. Yesterday I went through my stacks of papers, took pictures of charts, filed, tossed and so today, I can celebrate my desk. You can see the color of it!

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3. Projects Completed. This desk space was only possible after I finished a few school related “projects.”  All were opportunities to interact with other teachers, to do things I love, but the prep took mind space, leaving no energy or time to clean up. I moved from one project to the next, telling myself, when it is done then I’ll organize, make dinner on time, shop before 6 pm. I promised myself, my workspace would move to one spot of our house rather than the living room, the dining room and sometimes the kitchen. Today I celebrate the completion of these projects and the space that finishing creates.

4. Reading. Reading takes on a different persona in the summer. I read during the school year, but my summer mindset changes how I understand things. In the summer, I see things that could be. I can see how certain things apply beyond the moment I’m in because there is no particular moment I’m in.  It’s time to fall in love with reading again. Today I celebrate the time and space created for reading and the thinking that goes with it.

5. My family all in one spot, at the same time. Everyone is scattered and schedules seem to never align. But this weekend, the amazing will happen and (because school is out) all will be together at one time. Today, I celebrate that rare occurrence.

Happy first day of summer.


Happy weekend to you.

Slice of Life Day 13: TIme in Moments, Moments in Time

For the month of March, I am writing a daily slice of my life. Thanks to the team of TaraAnnaDanaStacey,  Betsy  and Beth at Two Writing Teachers for providing this opportunity to write.  Would not, could not have done this any other way. Check out more slices for day 13 here.


If yesterday was a mini-moment day, today is a micro-moment day. A day of squeezing moments between moments, getting what I want to get done in between what I gotta get done.

Every day of teaching seems like that.

Those little opportunities you find to slip in
a tip,
a compliment,
a question,
a let-me-show-you,
a you-try,
a watch-me-again,
a say-more-about-that

That’s the way I live teaching

with not enough
let me jot what I just told you,
let me take attendance on time,
let me just file that away in the proper place

I rush to squeeze what I can into the minutes.

Ten minutes to get her to physical therapy.

Forgot the phone, back to school.

Click on twitter in the school parking lot for the last 19 minutes of #tcrwp twitter chat.

Pick up a few charting gems that may help me improve my students’ conventions.  Conventions have taken me many years of reading and absorbing at a deep level to understand. My process is a hard one to transfer readily to students, so I always feel less than in this area.

I’ve got 15 minutes to get to the gym for a quick set, not what I planned, but better than not at all.

I pull up, the phone dings. I check. Someone got into TCRWP Summer Institute.  I check email. YES! I’m in. A quick internal yippee, and I think about how sad it is that I’m not savoring this of moment more.

I walk into the “Y.” I see young families walking out with toweled little ones talking about swim team, and my heart aches for those slower times with little people who could only move so fast.

I pass the sign for the meditation class. Hmmm.

Up to the counter, past the treadmills, and into the weight room.

I promised my knees a set of squats, and someone is using the machine I need. This wasn’t in my micro managed agenda. I look at the clock. Ten minutes. It’s doable. I work a machine closest to one I want. This woman looks like she’s sleeping in between sets. Isn’t there a rule about the amount of time you get to… Oh, she’s done. Here I go. I fulfill my life-long promise to my ACL-less knee, one, two and three quick sets and I’m back to the car.

I have a lingering feeling of wanting more. But I’ve got to go and pick up at physical therapy.

I look to text my husband and see his text:   We can’t go to dinner on Saturday. Moving Mom and Dad.  My heart sinks, not for the lost dinner, but the move. A couple of 60-plus years must separate due to Parkinson’s.

Off to Trader Joe’s for lunch food.

My daughter’s by my side shopping for fruit, salads and bread. I tell her about the move. Would she like to come and help?

No, but I will, she replies.

It will be hard to see her papa in a way that is not so much like the papa she knew. But, she needs, we need to go. We move on to the check out.

Now, hours later, I sit in the quiet, at my dining room table, and remember times when we all were a bit younger, and a bit more attached. When time seem a bit slower.

I stop and linger.

Slice of Life Day 7: Overflowing Brain

For the month of March, I am writing daily with Slice of Life bloggers. Adding daily writing to everything else is interesting. My busy brain is always overflowing. Now I’m working to hold on to a slice to remember. Read other slicer’s writing here at Two Writing Teachers.
11454297503_e27946e4ff_hToday I woke up groggy, my body and brain begging for more sleep. I don’t want to give in to fatigue.

Wanting to swim, I get my bag and in 10 minutes I’m out the door. Traffic lights are the only thing that disrupt my drive.

I think as I hurtle down the street, this has got to change. I keep adding to the “to do” without taking anything away, except sleep. 

I’ll shave a bit off the workout, I think. I‘ll leave 15 minutes early. 

Pool time provides a rare opportunity: I don’t think. My mind turns off, and I just go.

The back and forth, lulls my brain into a state of calm. The water nulls out distractions and concerns. I suppose that’s why when I get to that moment, that moment I should get out, that I don’t. Just one more, because I’ve forgotten all those thoughts I had on the way here.

It isn’t until I’m on my drive home that I remember and think. I calculate my time.

I turn off of one busy street, onto a less busy street, surprised by pedestrians in my car-oriented world.

Up on the left I spot a drive-thru Starbucks. I love this spot. Terrible me. It’s decadent. I don’t even have to get out of my car. Waiting in line, cell phone in hand, I read a post. I pull up. The face at the window is my former student Evelyn. We’re surprised to see each other, and we exchange updates on her and her siblings (they’re triplets).  Her brother’s in the Marines; her sister’s in college studying acting. She’s in college too, English major. This moment made my morning.

Filled up with news and coffee, off I go with time to spare. I think about the day ahead and how to parse my school day. So much to do. I don’t want to give anything up. I just seem to think of more. Long gone is the grogginess of the first minutes of my day. Now I’m filled with all kinds of will dos and must dos. I know my plate is full. Too much

Tomorrow when I wake up, I’ll accept the fatigue as an outcome of me. This how I make things go, overflowing, too much.

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