Giving Her All She’s Got

So, here I am. I am tired; my house is dirty; and I am about to return to grading. It’s kicking my ass, these days, the grading. So little of my time is filled with anything other than trying to keep up. Yet I still declare moments like this. Moments when I have “no time” for personal writing but decide to take it anyway.

I am discovering this is just how it goes, maybe for most of us out there, particularly those of us who bring home work – and lots of it – while having to get food on the table and take care of a small child. Remembering not to lose bills within a sea of other papers is the status quo around here, at least for now. This too shall pass, as they say. My son will eventually grow big enough to lock himself in his room all evening (let’s hope not, actually). My job will eventually feel less like cheerleading tryouts. And I will one day spend fewer hours planning for courses that are still new to me.

Today, however, I am stealing time and learning to feel less guilty about it. When your job – or your responsibilities – are making you cry at night, then something has to give. The only person in this equation is me. I am the hero of my own story, as I heard in a movie recently. Therefore, I get to be the director. Like Robin Wright, I can direct, produce, and act in my own show cause….I can.

In slowly learning not to treat each grading deadline as life-threateningly pressing, I learn to show more humanity in the classroom too. I talk, at least a little, more openly with my students about my humanness. It seems to be helping everyone relax, at least a little, in the process, particularly those students who are pretty darn uptight and intimidated to begin with.

Keeping myself sane, smart, and fair depends upon these moments, when I say, “I just can’t do it. I am giving her all she’s got.”

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