This is the time of the year when I'm in the bottom two rows, teetering into the last row. I lose sleep. I think of new ways to try to hold on to the motivation and engagement in the class. I worry about the piles of papers that seem to grow. I browse the job sites. I wonder what it would be like to leave the classroom. Standardized tests loom over me. I've grown weary of walking into buildings before the sun rises, of cold weather, of wondering what will happen, of trying to reach someone determined to be unreachable.
These are the literal and figurative darkest days of the year.
But, there are sunny moments that hint at the changes to come. This weekend has three events I'm particularly looking forward to:
- The clocks move forward and the days of pre-dawn school arrival and departure are over for the school year. Though I will miss the hour of sleep, the sun does much to improve my mood.
- Also, I attend the Northern Virginia Writing Project's Language and Learning Conference during the first weekend in March each year. As with my November trips to NCTE, the L&L seems to come at the perfect time to keep me moving and excited about working with kids.
- Finally, it will be warm enough to open the beehives and check on their progress. We'll ensure they have enough emergency food to last until the nectar flow really gets going, also in a couple of weeks from now.
So, my pre-dawn slice today in anticipatory. Tonight, I've been awake most of the night and working on school-related assignments and worried about what there is left to accomplish. However, I know the darkness won't last, even though it seems like I'm still stuck in liminal space and time. In the next couple of weeks, I will see more sunshine, get more excited about my work, clear the hurdle of annual state writing testing, and have a week-long Spring Break before charging toward the next tests and the end of the year.
I'm looking forward to the light.