Monday, September 08, 2008

Attack of the ROUS-es

Two and a half weeks into teaching I have already been thrown to the mercy of the ROUS-es (Ridiculous Oratory and Uncomfortable Shoes). The first encounters happened quickly. School began on a Thursday, and by Friday afternoon, I had broken blisters on the backs of my heels. Lesson learned: Do not break in a new pair of shoes at school, no matter how comfortable they may have felt in the store. As for the Ridiculous Oratory...well, let's just say I've heard it at length from someone whose job it is to deliver it, and, no, I'm not speaking of any of my administrators or colleagues. Of the two, I would endure the broken blisters any day. Lesson learned: There's a perfectly appropriate time to lock yourself into the French teacher's room and engage in unauthorized multi-lingual...expression.

The teaching is a mixed sort of experience. I teach 7 class periods a day, three of which are the same course. This means I have five different classes for which to prepare, and herein lies my struggle. I am a depth person, a person who values quality over quantity. In the past two and a half weeks it has been becoming abundantly clear that this is a path to sure burnout when it comes to a teacher's job in the public education system, at least for the first one to three years (the time estimate is based on input from other teachers). I stay late most nights, go back to the school to plan on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays, and most of the time I hit some point at which my mind balks and simply closes down at the sheer amount of information I'm expected to convey and the information I absolutely must assimilate, myself. This is the bad news, the struggle.

Teaching does have its upside, too. My personal upside the past couple of weeks has been the debate--actually a communications--class. I didn't expect this, but the five students who are in it are more good natured and willing than I ever might have expected or even hoped. They don't strike me as particularly likely to hang out together in a general social setting, but they work (and banter) well together in class and with me, and I am very, very grateful for them. The creative writing class is usually fun, again good natured, and is small, also, which allows us to do more experimental types of things like going outside to write or watching the kindergarteners' very first gym class for character sketch material. I'm hoping the small size will allow us to workshop as a class, as well. The folklore class at 8:30 in the morning is more of a challenge due mostly to the time of day. We've covered fool tales and riddle tales and lying tales and story tales so far, and I think we're going to dive into fairy tales next. Because we live in the Ozarks, I would love to look at some specifically Ozarks folktales, but the only ones I have acutally studied were in a course at MSU entitled "Bawdy Ozark Folktales". The course was a hoot; we used Vance Randolph's book, Pissing in the Snow and loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, I don't think that would fly for a high school class. Maybe I can get my hands on a copy of Who Blowed up the Church House instead.

Some of you reading this are familiar with the kind of stress related issues with which I tend to deal. If you are, let me just say that prayer would not be inappropriate at this juncture. I'm dealing, but barely. Enough said.

10 comments:

alaiyo said...

You know that I'm no prayer warrior, dear friend, but if God also counts loving thoughts for prayers (as I believe He does), you have many more than it might seem from this direction.

May you know His blessings today as you go through the daily routine and especially as you invest in the lives of the young ones before you.

And French is really, really good sometimes! :)

Randy said...

You definitely have my prayers. I am glad for this new season in your life. It's very interesting.

Cindy said...

Beth--French is wonderful, oh, oui. So are phrases muttered under the breath, such as, "Inappropriate Anglo-Saxon epithet!" Thank you for the prayers of both word and heart, and for the blessings.

Randy--Interesting? Well, that's definitely one word for it. I'm learning a great deal, and while a huge portion of it has to do with teaching, a lot of it also has to do with human nature, as you may well imagine. Thank you, too, for the prayers and the encouragement.

Paul said...

I have no doubt that you will adapt, succeed and excel. Best wishes!

GrumpyTeacher1 said...

Hang in there. It does get better after the first few years.

Cindy said...

Paul--Thank you. It's a stretch.

Grumpy Teacher--I'm beginning to think it gets better after the first few years because of loopiness brought on by sleep deprivation.

predictablepoet said...

Sleep deprivation, riddle tales, and ROUS-es ...how I miss school!

Doubtless, you will creatively face challenges and smooth sailing... We will watch and listen with fellow-wonder.

Cindy said...

Megan--Thank you. I don't know what it was about your comment, but I began to mentally compose a semi-snarky reply and then sat back and realized...I'm watching "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Ever After" this week, both for legitimate academic reasons given the classes, and we're up to our necks in fairy tale elements, and last night a student stopped by for some impromptu tutoring and we laughed and slapped around parts of speech on the board and got excited, and...

Yes, maybe the sleep deprivation, perpetual upset stomach and lurking migraine pre-symptoms are worth it after all.

Lauren said...

Well, a small bit of help is on the way to you, via Fed Ex and a few books. I don't have any Ozark folklore, but I do have the encyclopedia of medieval folklore, all of the Grimms' tales, and folklore from around the world.

And just for fun, I through in Naming The World. Hope they can be of some use to you.

Lots of luck, love, and prayers!

Lauren said...

Oy.. that would be "threw in" rather than through in.... ::bangs head:: Is what I get for waking up at 5:30 AM on a Saturday after going to bed around 11 PM.