These days I’ve been eating too many marshmallows. I need to stop. Now.
What explains why I haven’t created that attendance tracker I have been meaning to make since October? What explains why I haven’t graded these worksheets on denotation and connotation? What explains why I have come home each night this week and taken a 20-minute nap only to find myself getting out of bed 2 hours later? What explains why I haven’t written a blog post in over 2 weeks? What explains why my students are not learning enough?
Hints: It’s one word. It begins with “D”. I thought I had it, but maybe I don’t.
Discipline. I need it. Badly. In 2010, my teaching (and life) resolution will be to “have discipline.” (I know that this is neither specific nor measurable. I never really believed in New Year’s resolutions). I will do whatever it takes to remember to take control of my life. I’ll begin by putting up notecards with that word all over my room and above my desk.
Ironically, it seems as though I’m becoming like my students. Like them, I can’t stop eating those damn marshmallows that are sitting on my desk. I’m losing the ability to defer what I want now (sleep, truly lazy Sundays, more YouTube videos and an absence of planning) for what I want later (strong unit plans, student achievement, “satisfaction”, “success”). My students have trouble understanding that “suffering” the pain of writing a literary interpretation of Push now will help them become better writers later and that, maybe, a small investment in one’s education now will pay off, in many ways, later. I am beginning to think that I am having trouble realizing that a little (well, maybe a lot) of front-loaded work will make my life that much more tolerable.
Winter break, contrary to what I expected, did not help. I found myself pushing things back. The giant to-do list shrunk, but only because I crossed off the easy things–the things that didn’t require much discipline (e.g. get a haircut or grade unit 2 tests).
So, I am determined to push for discipline. When? Not this year, not this decade, not this month. I’m pushing this day–maybe even this hour. Just as I train my body to push through the pain while I run marathons, I’m going to train my mind to say “no!” when it urges me to waste more of my (teaching) opportunities.