I’m really beginning to look forward to the Slice of Life posts, so thanks to the ladies over at Two Writing Teachers for encouraging this kind of reflection!
We had an early dismissal today, like many schools in the tri-state area. My husband and I got home just before 1:30, an hour before school would usually let out and at least 4 hours before I’d normally get home. I allowed myself to relax for the first hour. There’s something decadent about sitting on the couch, watching TV in the middle of the day. I was watching How I Met Your Mother from last night when I glanced at my husband to make a comment about the show. He was out. Completely asleep.
What I really wanted to do was join him. I wanted to curl up on the couch and let my eyes droop closed and sleep the afternoon away. But I know that the early afternoon is my most productive time, so I gathered my grading and headed to the dining room.
I spent more time than I probably needed to organizing my grading. Separating by assignment and class. Alphabetizing. You know the routine, because you probably do it to. How much can I “do” before I actually have to do something?
Finally I was ready to read. I had papers on Nickel and Dimed to read and reflections on our Macbeth Choose Your Own Adventure project to grade. (Check out those projects here. They are amazing!) But I made a fatal mistake. I had faced myself facing the window. This usually wouldn’t be a big deal. Usually I would have the blinds closed and would be staring at the blank wall. But our blinds broke about a week ago and we haven’t gotten around to replacing them (really because we think we want curtains but aren’t sure what kind…but that’s another story). So instead of looking at the blinds, was watching the snow come down.
I was mesmerized as I watched the snow pile up at the base of car wheels in our parking lot. I watched as more and more of the lamp post was covered. I watched my neighbors navigate the slippery path to their parking spots (and one near-miss accident!). I watched the plow futilely drive back and forth, making no discernible difference in the condition of the parking lot.
I graded while I did this, of course, but in that sporadic way you grade when you haven’t found a rhythm or a groove. Each paper felt like a new task. What were the students doing again? What scale was I grading this on again? What chapter were they writing about again? What subject do I teach again? Every time I gained some traction, grading maybe three papers in a row, I’d look up and get lost in the weather again.
I finally finished one class of essays and admitted defeat for now. Once it gets darker and I can no longer lose myself in the goings on of the parking lot, I’ll try again. For now I’m giving myself permission to read a little bit, to write a little bit, to wind down a little bit. After all, it’s a snow day.