Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Busy < Efficient (and still doing a good job)

I have come to the realization that I like being a person "who has a lot on their plate, a lot to do, are inundated with opportunities and projects, and who find it useful to have an extra brain and an extra set of hands to help them accomplish all of it." Notice I did not use the word: busy. and yes, I did take this quote from a wonderful bog post called "why I stopped working with 'busy' people." I recommend you read the post here.

"Amanda" in Chinese. My students are teaching me!
This week I have been proctoring/grading New York State's Regents exams to students who look up at you while you are administering the test like "why are you hazing me!" and you feel instantly guilty.  Not that the tests are terribly hard, they are just very long 3-4.5 hour tests to take especially if your first language isn't English like EVERY single student we have. Some students take more than one test in a day. A lot of them get really discouraged and give up with their already shattered self confidence... and I really don't like seeing that. I think half of test taking is not giving up, but I guess that's too much to ask for some students.

For those of you not familiar, the Regents Exams are for every core subject (yes science and history included) that students must pass to graduate high school. New York State has administered this exam since 1866 but has modified it over the years. I really don't know the history of the Regents, BUT I know it has been around FOREVER. Apparently every year there is big talk that they are going to stop giving the regents, but I'm going to be a doubting Thomas on this one- I have to see it before I'll believe it.

Anyway, since it's regents week I have not had to plan or take home any extra grading and it has been the most boring week EVER. Not that I particularly like working on my school stuff all the time, but I haven't had grad school this month either and I've been getting enough sleep. (shock!) It has been very bizarre to the point where I asked myself "What do normal people do when they get home from work?!?! I could take a nap or read a whole book or learn about the stock market or read ALL the blogs I follow, or exercise, pinteresting till 11pm, or watch TV ALL night if I wanted too." Then I realized: "oh... most people have families to take care of," which was then immediately followed by the thought of... "hmmm. well I don't. So I think I'll go take a nap" (and then I did in fact do all of the activities I listed)..

SO much time! I didn't know what to do with myself... at one point I found myself googling grants for high schools to earn more money. THAT'S when it hit me.. "ok I am really turning into one of those intense people who live, think, breathe, education...EXCEPT I'm really not one of those people (at least I dont think so). I'm just really bored!" I need to get a hobby. I think I might go crazy this summer, I'm going to need to find a side job or something!

Anyway, my new hobby for the week became organizing my next semester! I'm actually a little nervous for it. I will be teaching health because most seniors still need it to graduate, I'm also going to also teaching a physics of sound elective, AND instead of only having 1 graduate class I will have 2 night graduate classes. My night classes are actually what scare me the most, that means 2 of my weeknights for planning are automatically shot, plus homework. Scary. :S

I'll be fine though. I am convinced NOTHING can be harder than my spring semester my sophomore year of college, when I took 3 physics classes plus 2 additional graduation requirement classes. First of all, that was just a dumb scheduling decision on my part in general (rookie mistake, rookie mistake). That was probably the first time in my life where I consistently worked over 80 hours a week. I swore to myself I'd NEVER do that again. It is just not a sustainable life style and made me incredibly moody and mostly unhappy. SO, if I can avoid that I'll be golden. I give props to all my friends now in physics grad school who now work those insane hours regularly and actually like it.

My goal for this next semester is to not go over 60 hours a week working or doing graduate work AND get 8 hours of sleep. It's going to be very tough, but it's amazing how much getting enough a sleep motivates me AND to see if I can actually pull it off. It's like a puzzle and I like to think I have decent time management skills... plus I'd also really really like to have a life. If I can stick to this plan that means I have 42 hours to "have a life" in.. unless I get my work done in even less than 60 hours! 

So here's to being efficient and making every second count.


  1. I have the same what to do with my time problem. I have come to realize that I am a student more than I am servant. At least I enjoy studying a lot more than serving. I am still not over feeling guilty about serving more. And God still drops something in front of me that I can't help but realize I am supposed to do something about. But in the meantime I am learning Spanish.

  2. I love your blog (and this post specifically). I was accepted for June 2013-Special Education. Your blog is such an inspiration. I am uber organized too and I love that you showed off your daily schedule so I can have an idea of what to expect.

    Thank you!

  3. Congrats on your acceptance to Teaching Fellows! I know a handful of NYCTF special education teachers. I also read SO many blogs about education and alternative teaching before deciding to become a teaching fellow. I just wanted to make sure it was something I really really wanted to do. The first year is tough, everyone says that. I think the main thing you need to "make it" are a sense of humor (not taking anything personally), perseverance, and passion for what you do. :)