Sunday, January 28, 2007

Making Progress

Do you ever feel like you’re just spinning your wheels in the sand? That’s how I feel most of the time anymore it seems, even though I know I’m actually making progress. The stack of papers on my desk at school diminished by two whole class sets this week, I finished reading two books I needed to review, and I managed to write both newspaper columns this morning in less than an hour.

When I forget how much I really have accomplished, I take a minute to look over my planner and submission calendar, then give myself a pat on the back. Too often we let all the things we still need to do overshadow all the things we’ve already done.

Each of us is given the same amount of time each day. It’s up to us how we use it. As for me, I’m making progress today with my “To Do” list. Only five hundred and fifty-seven more things to do before I go to bed tonight.

Actually, I’m just kidding because I just checked off this blog, so now I have one less thing to do!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Swimming in the Ocean of Paperwork

The end of the first semester and I’m still drowning in papers, papers, papers. It’s amazing how many papers 150 or so students can create at the end of a term—especially when they procrastinate and turn everything in at the last minute. Oh, how I love those students who finish their play reviews or reading logs early and hand them in weeks before the final deadline.

Final grades are finished and entered into the computer—a process which only crashed twice this time. Yippee and hallelujah. This week, I look forward to reading the very first literacy analysis papers my 9th grade honor English students have ever written. Based on the ones they volunteered to read aloud, the process shouldn’t be too painful to withstand.

I’ll actually have a little time to read them leisurely because my student teacher will be taking over a few class periods throughout the week. I threw him into the saddle for a little bit of time last week—letting him get a taste of reading a short story aloud and playing a well-organized vocabulary game. Now it’s time to throw him into the pool and watch him sink or swim. I have a feeling this one’s going to swim with no problem.

Now if I can only make it through the ocean of work I have awaiting me as my own new semester of graduate classes swing into full gear. If only the stack of edits awaiting my own work don’t overtake the computer keyboard like a tsunami, I should be back again next week.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy New Year!

Okay, okay, so I’m six days late with my greeting, but what do you expect when life is as busy and crazy as mine, not to mention the sinus infection that decided to strike right over the Christmas holiday! No doctors available until the entire weekend and present-opening was over. But I won’t complain because the wonderful world of modern medicine had me sleeping through the night and breathing through my nose again in a matter of hours. Yippee!

Today is Saturday and so far I’ve written and submitted—ya gotta love the advent of e-mail—two newspaper columns—one to the Press and the other to the News. I arose early and finished a piece to send to Chicken Soup for the Sister and Brother’s Soul, then read through their updated list of needs and sent an essay previously completed to the Chicken Soup for the Dating Soul submission pile. I submitted a proposal to speak at the National Council of Teacher’s of English conference next November in New York City—now there’s my idea of a fun time of year to visit the Big Apple, when temperatures average 42°. I dropped another essay into a book I’m writing for English teachers called Teaching Secondary English: One Day at a Time, sent an e-mail blast with a free book guide to add my e-zine subscribers and a collection of other potential subscribers I’d been collecting, then whipped up a couple of book guides to bring Volume 2 of Books, Books and More Books: A Parent and Teacher’s Guide to Adolescent Literature closer to completion by it’s summer target date. I dashed off a few additional e-mails—some personal and others business—and called it a pretty good writing day.

Of course, I took some time off to take a son to his basketball game. They lost but he played great, even though he’s still bummed that his team didn’t win the game. I had wanted to go to a movie, but the times didn’t coincide with the rest of the family’s plans, so my husband and four of the boys are seeing a film I didn’t care about while I work at the computer and my youngest screams at SpongeBob who is doing his usual silliness on the upstairs TV.

I wonder if all of this has anything to do with the fact that I suddenly want nothing more than to take a nap? But, instead I think I’ll start to update my website then take a good book—Give ‘em What They Want: The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents is calling out to me—upstairs for a little light reading before time to turn in for the evening.