Priorities

I haven’t forgotten about my commitment – my promise to myself – to write more and to challenge my friend Kevin to blog more.

But the two of us found ourselves bogged down with a zillion extra things in the past couple of weeks (You can see more about what’s been going on with him to hold up his blogging in his post.)and a sense of realism kicked in and we unofficially decided to take a break.

But before those weeks become months, I wanted to get back into the swing of things before we just wrote it off entirely.

He’d posed an interesting topic via text about a week ago: “I was thinking about a blog post this week: allotting time for priorities! What are ways that we squeeze in what we value during hectic times?”

I think we both need to think about that.

~~~~~~~~~

If I ever wondered what my priorities are (or where my priorities are out of whack), I should have just asked my son. There were a stack of silly questions floating around Facebook last week that you were supposed to just ask your kids and record their answers.

What is something I always say to you? Clean your room.
What makes me happy? Books
What makes me sad? When pets and people die
What was I like as a child? Kinda like me but not as weird
How old am I? 40
How tall am I? 5’4″ (I just guessed a random thing…)*
What is my favorite thing to do? Read books though I’m tempted to say Facebook.
What do I do when you’re not around? Probably read books and go on Facebook.
What am I really good at? Teaching
What am I not very good at? Building stuff
What do I do for work? Teach
What is my favorite food? Coffee (Is that a food?)
What do you enjoy doing with me? Reading books – I like reading books with you.

I don’t think it’s too out of whack. I do get sad when pets and people die. I do love reading – and I do spend a lot of time on Facebook. Too much time, probably. I need to put my phone away more often as I am sure I’m setting a bad example for him.

What made me sad was that the thing I apparently say to him more often than, “I love you,” is, “Clean your room.”

What makes me even more sad is that I often forgo cleaning my house to enjoy reading a book or playing on Facebook or grading papers or any of 100 other things.

What makes it such a priority to say it to him?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m fairly certain that we don’t really need to consult any kid or anyone else though to see what’s important to us. We can walk into our houses and into our classrooms and tell from the furniture and what is on display. My classroom has a wall of books. There are tables instead of desks. In my house there are magazines and books in various stages of completion all over the house. There is always a coffee cup around. My desk holds books and nail polish and pens and notebooks. So do the other places where I frequently park my butt to do my work.

You can look online and what I leave there is not all that different from what you’d see here – books, nails, stuff about teaching and my family.

Wander around my space and you’ll also see that while I appreciate organization, keeping my space clean isn’t a priority. Plus the exercise equipment is dusty. There are enough plans stashed on post-its on my desk that you’d think I was working to take over the world, enough there aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.

Or so you’d think.

Yet somehow this week, in my time outside of the school day, I managed to present to our current cohort at my writing project site, worked with our cast at 6 hours of musical rehearsals, attended a meeting of the contract negotiations team, read more of Raymie Nightingale with my son, flew through another 100+ pages of We Are the Ants, talked to a couple of dear friends on the phone, checked in with my mother daily, played with the dog, adjusted my lesson plans, wrote and graded a quiz, and watched Supergirl with my guys. Meals were made and consumed. Appointments were made. Hours were spent scouring the internet for materials for class. Emails were sent. Blog posts were set up for Nerdy. I caught up with my husband and son each evening. I went to bed as early as possible every night this week. I wrote up posts on my classroom blog about what we were doing each day at school in my classes. I started this post and fiddled with it more times than I want to admit to.

That’s a lot.

There are clear priorities there: Family. Friends. Students. Myself. Reading.

What I wish I’d see more is writing. Do I have room for one more thing?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I often will have a talk with students who are either falling behind or who are claiming to have no time to read outside of class.

“What do you do when you’re not in school?”

Since I have ninth grade, most of them don’t have jobs, but they talk about watching younger siblings, chores at home, social media, TV/Netflix (a lot of binge watching), video games, sleeping, hanging out with friends…

We talk about making a space they want to use just for getting their assignments done. We talk about stealing minutes from here and there in little chunks to read a few pages of a novel or a news story online.

I tell them if it’s a priority to do whatever they currently aren’t doing, they can make time for it, even if only on the edges of everything else to start.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Do I have room for one more thing?

I think I’ll take my own advice: I’ll start small and work it in around the edges for now.

 

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