Today is Saturday. Today is my self-assigned “day off.” On Saturdays, I am supposed to have fun. (Yes, I’m the kind of person who has to TELL herself to go have fun).
Since late January, the beginning of Spring teaching semester for me, I have been multi-tasking with my head down. I finished the first draft of my novel at the beginning of the year, celebrated, and I haven’t looked back; I pouted while separated from my novel, and only recently plunged back in to revise/write the second draft.
Meanwhile, I continue my part-time job in high tech and also started my teaching semester, returning to a community college campus and its many, many over-enrolled classes. My English composition class was no exception, and in the end, I had to turn away students who had come patiently each day in hopes of being added (I added as many as I thought I could handle). One of my peers signed every single student into her class, and she now has a composition class of 46 students. That is a ri-donk-ulous amount of students to have in one’s composition class.
California’s education budget cuts have wreaked their havoc and damage: the UCs had to raise fees and limit enrollment, and then the CSUs had to turn away tens of thousands of students from enrollment. Where do all the students go? They go to the community college system. All the marbles are rolling around on the table, and we’re catching them. Oh, and btw, community colleges face budget cuts, too. Programs and adjunct faculty are being cut left and right.
It’s been a mad semester, with its unique challenges. I just keep thinking about how it keeps me growing as a person, as a teacher, and as a writer. I always learn as much from the students as they learn from me, and I keep that in mind as the challenges keep rallying forth. I am learning to articulate myself more clearly, I am learning to be an even better role model, I am learning to always have a positive attitude because your attitude is contagious, I am learning to inspire, I am learning to be inspired, I am learning to be a better proofreader, I am learning every single grammar rule, and thus improving my own grammar, I am improving copyediting skills of my own work as much as my students’ work, I am learning new vocabulary (‘holla! amped!), I am keeping young, I am learning about the world beyond my own narrow sector.
I know that many writers say that teaching hampers their writing, but in my case, it’s helped more than it’s harmed my novel writing. Certainly, it cuts into my time (I teach six hours a week but I spend at least fifteen if not over twenty hours a week prepping and grading and obsessing over teaching each week)…but like I said, it’s helped me grow as a person, and it’s my person that informs my writing.
Now it’s Spring, and Spring break looms (2 more weeks!)–and I’m taking a breather (allergies not withstanding: ah-choo!) to look ahead. It’s supposed to be my day off, but my head is too full of thoughts for me to fully relax. I keep thinking about grading papers and lesson planning, and criticizing myself for not making more progress on my novel and not making more time to go running and figuring out how to get my arms more toned and what to cook for dinner and all the chores I should tackle and the reading I should do and how I’m ignoring my friends and…
So now it’s time to dream. Saturday is the day I deem a “day off”–because I’ve got to find a way to get myself to relax each week, to let my mind roam, to let my body unwind, to dream. Because when I dream, my imagination comes to life. When my imagination comes to life, I dream BIG. When I dream big, good things happen.
Will you dream big with me? I assign all of us to dream and then reassemble in a couple of weeks to list our goals and dreams go forward. 🙂