February 17, 2016

Words Feel Endless

So there you are, it’s passed nine and you have been working since seven, while you wait for your youngest to fall asleep. You are entering grades, editing comments, and negotiating Approaches To Learning indicators. You’re making progress. The pile is shrinking, even though the pile feels insurmountable.

You have six classes with twenty-two kids in each class, the numbers are staggering. The math is not worth doing. Just write one after the other. Enter the grade. You need to reach some sort of closure for tonight. Everything is going fine and then…..Bam.

Your brain shuts down. No more.

“So and So is an independent and thoughtful student who enjoys collaborating with others and discussing new ideas. She is confident to assert her opinions and share her insights regularly in small group collaborations. She has been motivated and organised in English and consistently works hard to improve her skills. She has a very good understanding of the various resources available to support her learning - checklists, charts, mentor texts and drafting partner - and demonstrates strong self-management skills when working in class, ” starts to meld into “Her note-taking skills have grown as she has discovered the importance of thinking her way through the themes in her novels.”  Before you know it, it all sounds like gibberish.

You can’t go on.

You check Facebook. Scroll through some Tweets. You realise it is Huey Newton’s birthday today, which must explain why everyone on Twitter is talking about a Black Panther’s film on PBS. You wish there was a way you could watch this program, but you know that it will blend into the rest of your media to-do list and you will most likely miss it. You make a note of maybe reading a book on Newton.

She is asleep. You are done for the night. It’s only ten, but you got a lot done. The deadline feels doable. You need a blank screen and  words that don't revolve around growth and school and progress and grades.

You play Lucinda Williams and it reminds you of the CD that you and your wife listened to while living in a reed house in Mozambique so many years ago.

The day was a long one. Filled with necessary bureaucracy, but not chores you enjoy. Standardised testing in the morning. A few classes. Report writing during your free time. A CIS accreditation meeting after school. A healthy run. A crucial power nap.

The music and these words help wash it all away. You crave chocolate, but don’t have any. You crave a drink, but the house is dry. You want some free time, unburdened by so many things that must get done. You envision next week, when it will all be done and a night of drinks with friends. You feel the need to socialise. You miss hanging out, because  you have been on the go for longer than you can remember.

The rest of the night might include a Portlandia episode and a few pages of Season of The Witch a book recommended to you by Richard Nies . It is about the history of San Francisco. The revolutionary spirit of the text and the city fill you with pride because you are “from there.”

At least you can say that you've lived there. You miss the city and the time you spent there and the friends you made there and the crazy nights in the streets and alleys and restaurants.

This summer you will take your kids there and wonder what it must be like now. Maybe you will be there for the Haight Street fair, which makes you think of the fair you spent with Josh and Felicia and those shoes and her ranch and the wind and the clouds.

Everything reminds you of everything else and you think that maybe this is the year you finally take up mediation. The words feel endless as they spill from your fingertips. A river of your experience flowing in pixelated ink.

The day is over and you are ready for the next one. 

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