Only a couple of weeks separate me from the beginning of preplanning week, the week prior to the first day of school when teachers return. Usually around this time of the year, I am ready to return to the breakneck pace of full-time elementary school teaching. This year, however, I am anxious.
The difference is that I will be both a full-time teacher and a full-time PhD student. Can I juggle all the competing priorities? Will I be able to maintain the level of intensity and quality needed to do well in my classes while fulfilling my role as a proficient teacher? (I no longer seek to be an exemplary teacher according to the district’s definition. I have found that the evaluation system is highly subjective.) I am hopeful about my ability to do the juggling, but my anxiety remains. I’ll have roughly a month before my PhD classes resume. My plan is to immediately carve out protected time for my PhD reading and research before classes begin.
I enjoy classroom teaching, which is both a blessing and a curse. While I’ve pledged allegiance to certain slogans for this transitional period–keep it simple, work smarter not harder, leave school on time–I am easily derailed by my “bright ideas,” which usually lead me down a path to overextend myself. Thankfully, I’ve given up my extracurricular activities (e.g., planning grade-level field trips and serving on various committees).
I’ll be back periodically to blog about my experience.