Monday, September 20, 2010


My dad asked me over the phone this weekend how I was doing at keeping my essential agreements. I told him I've been doing a great job of balancing work and play; the problem is that I've done it by working just as much as before and playing twice as hard. Not a sustainable way for me to live, it turns out. Lack of sleep and far too little down time turn me into the kind of person I don't want to be. I think I'm improving, though. Last Monday was about as bad as it got: I put in a full day of teaching and planning, went to a meeting on how to train other teachers to use their Promethean boards, biked home for just long enough to change out of biking shorts and grab a banana and a swimsuit, rushed off to a kickball doubleheader, ate the banana for supper between innings, headed straight to our string quartet business meeting (in a hot tub, naturally), made it home by 10:30, ate some real food, put the mute on my violin and practiced with miniscule bowstrokes for Tuesday's gig so as not to wake up my sleeping housemate. Today, I did not go a single other place after work. I came home, picked raspberries, read a book in German for fun, ate a leisurely supper, played piano, talked to an old friend on the phone for an hour and a half, and wrote in my journal. And posted a blog entry. And am going to get nearly a full eight hours of sleep. Let's see if I can make this trend continue.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Essential Agreements

At my school, we don't have rules. We have essential agreements--the understandings we've established between students and teachers, paras and supervisors, staff and administration, to create the healthiest environment for us all. This year, after a summer spent putting a lot of things in perspective, I decided that in addition to my essential agreements with my students, I needed some for myself. For a perfectionist in a profession where you can never be perfect. For a teacher who needs to remember that she is many things other than that.