07 January 2011

2010 in review

What a Disappointment in Reading!

I blame work. I love my job, and when I think of the 200 minutes a day I'm talking with my students about books and narratives and poems and essays and ideas I can't believe I actually get paid to do it. But all the rest of my working time, 160 minutes at school and an uncountable number of hours at home, is spent reading (submitted papers and homework, prep for those 5 shows every day, and grad school). It's one of those jobs where you could literally, and I literally mean literally, work all the time and still not be doing enough. And it's not even one of those "you must not be doing it right" kind of things; if you want to phone it in, you could have lots of free time, but to do a good job requires a lot of effort and an unbelievable amount of time. Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be English teachers.

Over the past five days I have done two experiments. With the first, I grade things the second they come in, as soon as I can, whether that's the next period I don't have class, say my Duty period or lunch, or right after my after-school snack. In the second, we have been constantly picking up after ourselves - things go back to where they belong, the house gets company-ready before bed and before we leave for work: dishes put in the dishie, crumbs wiped up, couch blankets folded and put away, and so on: a constant tidying up. The results, after a mere five days, are pretty positive - I find myself in a clean house, with less schoolwork that MUST be done RIGHT NOW, and I've found a little bit of time to read.

I've also found that having a reading mandate to be helpful. Looking back over the 108 books I've read since I started this, many of them have been read for grad school or for classes I'm planning to teach. And lately I have been feeling the Gaming itch, and so have been reading in prep for a game of Beat to Quarters.

Whatever it takes, I'm aiming at 20 books in 2011. And better blog posts, too - I think that writing them right away even if I'm not happy with them is the best way to go (instead of waiting for the elusive Spare Moment to sit down and Do It Right).


meezly said...

Very impressed with the hup experiments. Keep it up and hope it improves your reading rate!

OlmanFeelyus said...

Wow, dude, you really do lead a busy life. I think maybe I'm glad I got out of teaching when I did!

Glad to see you back in the game and good luck in 2011!

Monica M said...

The reviewing of books when you finished reading them might help you staying focus and feeling like you manage to put order in you mental life. I know it helped me, although I sometimes fall 2 or 3 day behind the actual moment when I finished reading the book.
Good luck with everything! With everything if you want to do a great job you must put extra effort and commitment into it.