If I had to come up with a ridiculously melodramatic metaphor for my life right now, I’d say it feels a little like riding a tricycle rapidly around an octagonal room; the dizzying ride on an inefficient vehicle should be pictured complete with several jarring crashes into walls and getting stuck in corners. This is the nature of higher academia at this time of year. I’m wrapping up the current semester, and as an administrator, already thinking about launching the next semester. And, God bless my high school teaching friends because I don’t know how you do it. I’ve found that sixteen weeks is the outer limits of the human capability to focus on one class before everyone needs to cease and desist for awhile. Whew! 8 more days. Just eight more days until a fairly dramatic schedule shift. I’ll still be at the school quite often but in a different rhythm of activity. My 800 emails in my inbox are just waiting for me to clean them out.
There have been a few bright spots. One of those bazillion emails today was from a former student who wanted to thank me for being patient but also pushing him when he was wasting time in my class. I helped sparked realizations in him that he could do better, and he is doing better. That kind of email does a teacher’s heart good. Because, for those of you who are non-teachers, let me tell you it’s not easy to call a student out on less than ideal habits. Sure, part of me might be motivated (in my basest of human instincts) by annoyance at the sheer and utter inconvenience of any one student’s nonsensical behavior. But, I couldn’t go into (or at least stay in) teaching unless a bigger part of me hoped that when I choose to call a student out on behavior it is to help them in their future endeavors, and it does take a choice on the part of the teacher as well because the option is always there to take the easier road, the one of letting the student fail quietly and without intervention for the future. It’s nerve-wracking to call a student out. Again, the indignant me might say, “How dare he/she?” But the me in the room with the student gets tangled up in, “How far can I push the trust of this relationship? How tough can I be without this student losing faith in the fact that I do this because I care? Did I just give formative feedback or devastating criticism?” And, so when as student follows up, and that student lands on his feet and is making great strides forward, it’s a win (and an assuager of teacherly self-doubt).
And, in totally unrelated news (unless you count the good news theme), I won a quilting contest today — not for one of my quilts. I wish! Maybe someday. But, over the course of the past month, I’ve been following a microMod sew along, which consists of many quilters over the course of the month creating projects out of a collection of retro geometric fabrics. And, they host a fabric giveaway in conjunction with their project postings. It’s a win-win. Someone gets great fabrics; fun projects are showcased, and I’ve found several quilting blogs to add to my subscription list. Swim Bike Quilt is one of those blogs. I discovered Katie’s blog when she made aprons out of the fabric for her and her husband. Between that apron and the one over at Jaceycraft, I’m thinking that I ought to make a work apron for sewing. I constantly loose scissors, seam rippers, and thus my sanity. If I had pockets for all that stuff, I might get faster at sewing and spend less time wondering whether the dog could have possibly absconded with my supplies. Today, I got an email from Katie to tell me I won the fabric. Yes, my name in blog lights — sort of. Now, I can start to imagine what project(s) to make with these fabrics. It’s not too late to join in for the last week of the sew along fun. Follow any of the links to the blogs I mentioned, and you can find out where the last few stops of the sew along will be.