When I started teaching I spent much of my free time reading professional books, researching trying to be better for my little darlings. Some years I have been more diligent than others about improving my craft.
Working two jobs distracts you. I wonder what kind of teacher/writer/friend I would be if I didn't have to have the second job. Every now and then I get sad and sappy...maybe overwhelmed is better word for it. I feel that I do too many things and can't do well at any of them because of being spread too thin and for what?
Last weekend was a rough drivers ed weekend. A student didn't stop...my break wouldn't work...the light was red for us. She was looking straight at the cars, her knuckles were white from her strong grip. We slipped slowly into the intersection flirting with stopping but still rolling. I think I cussed at her. I was standing with both feet on the break and my arms pulling and tugging at the steering wheel. I got the tire to bump a curb she finally stopped us. The trucks' tires were screeching I remember seeing the bodies of their cabs wobble and shiver on the wet roads. They stopped. We hadn't moved. I was wrestling the steering wheel to point us in the right direction if we survived. The squealing tires were abruptly silent. The trucks' grills were the only thing I could see in the windows. The two little girls were silent in the back seat...frozen in a crash position. It was the first five minutes of the driving lesson. It didn't get much better. This was when I started heavily thinking why do I do this?
I might have shared the story on Facebook. My fellow drivers ed teacher posted this:
Because when you go to bed at night you can rest assured that you did your very best to teach that person how not to die. That is the higher ethic of teaching Drivers ed. You are not just teaching a lesson, you are teaching life and death. 20 years of facing that challenge and several student deaths has taught me one thing, you do your best all the times and never take your job as just a lesson, its a responsibility. You did well tonight Val.. Rest assured you may not have made her understand but you did your best, and if you face that challenge again, you will always do your best. She did not try to kill you, you tried to save her life :) thats why we teach drivers ed... its the ultimate responsibility.. its not just a job.. its a calling you are good at... as far as people honking at you... lets see them do a better job :)
So...you guessed it I was back in the car on Monday. I have cut back my hours. December is busy and I want to spend it with my family.
A friend has requested my presences in her professional learning community...PLC. PLCs are how teachers get together and discuss their craft, do book studies, and generally try to improve their skills. I said yes...it has been a while...I need a professional recharge. The group is doing a book study on Teaching Digital Natives, Partnering for Real Learning by Marc Prensky. At first look I was pretty sure it was super LAME-O. I have been pleasantly surprised and inspired. I love unexpected inspiration.