Sunday, August 10, 2008

Un-Goals for the New School Year

With the start of every new school year, I usually think of all the things I will do differently this year to make my job, my life, my everything better and more efficient. But this is my 23rd (!) year of teaching, and I realize it ain't likely to happen. (I'm an English teacher, so I have a free pass to use the word "ain't" every now and then. Look it up in the English Teacher's Code.)

Here, then, are my un-goals for this school year, things that I know will not change significantly.

  1. Clean Desk - This will never happen. I won't even have the cleanest teacher's desk in my room. Students will occasionally volunteer to help my clear off my desk and make things neat and tidy, and I will allow them to do so. Then my desk will be back to its cluttered chaos within a few hours. That's just me. All the file folders, organizers, stacky things, and desk dividers will not help. Having a messy desk doesn't affect my teaching, so I have given myself permission not to stress about it.
  2. Homemade Lunches - Although I will probably take my lunch to school more than not, I am wise enough to realize that there are going to be days when I just don't feel like making a lunch. I'll be up so late one night (or two or ten) working on my "part-time" online teaching job that I don't take the time to prepare anything. Or I'll be out of town for the weekend (probably on a bicycle ride, or a motorcycle ride) and I won't get home in time (or have enough energy) to go to the grocery store. Or hubby will be out of town and I will be on kitchen strike even more than I am when he is IN town. Or they'll be serving vegetable soup and PB J at school, which I find irresistible. I won't beat myself up if I occasionally eat a school lunch or order something.
  3. Exercise - While we will continue our routine of walking in the park 3-4 times a week, and I will occasionally ride my bike on the weekends, and I will use the treadmill from time to time, I know that exercising every single day will not happen. Bad weather, lack of energy, hectic schedule, family obligations, and occasional social events will dictate that I skip a day of exercise every now and then. It will not be the deciding factor that kills my chances of being the world's next supermodel, and it won't make me a bad person.
  4. Housework - We will always have clean clothes to wear, and we will always have something (mostly) nutritious to eat, and the dishes will (usually) be washed, and the bed will be made every day, and the health inspector won't find enough evidence to condemn our house, but I will not aspire to be June Cleaver. Furniture will be dusty, dog toys will be scattered in the living room, and the kitchen table will continue to accumulate a lot of the junk that makes its way into our house every day. Hubby doesn't think having a spotless house is required to be a good person/wife (although my mother DOES, but she hates animals and won't visit our house anyway), so I won't feel like a failure if my house is sometimes a little messy.
  5. School Clothes - Although I would like to look like a fashion model, that isn't likely to happen either. There will be days when I dress for comfort and won't look as professional as I could. There will be days when I spend an extra 10 minutes emailing in the morning and don't save enough time to iron something. (And I will never iron a week's worth of clothes on the weekend, no matter how many times I say it.) I will occasionally have to resort to something that a) is clean; b) fits; c) I haven't already worn that week; and d) doesn't need to be ironed. It will not make me a less effective teacher if I am not wearing the absolute latest fashion.
  6. Dinner - We will not have a home cooked meal with a lean meat, a green vegetable, and a starch every single night. For the same reasons that I won't always have time to exercise or prepare a healthy lunch, there will be nights that we are forced to order a pizza or run out for a burger or get by with a sandwich. We definitely won't starve to death.
  7. Money - I will not suddenly become frugal and completely sensible about spending. I will occasionally splurge on something I don't need, I will sometimes waste money needlessly (whether intentionally or unintentionally), and I may hold my breath until payday rolls around again. But the bills will be paid, I will continue to contribute to ALL of our savings accounts, and we won't have to sacrifice necessities. Especially if we win the lottery (see wasting money, above).
  8. Reading - I will not limit myself to only quality literature. I will occasionally resort to reading something strictly for entertainment or relaxation, not to elicit deep thought and reflection. I may even "waste" time in such pursuits when I could be cleaning the house or ironing clothes (see #4 and #5 above).
Okay, now I feel completely ready for the new school year. And I have no idea what I'm wearing tomorrow.


Badger said...

Forget those "cutesey" lists that proliferate like flies on the internet - this list is refreshingly grounded in the real world! I was at Yargo yesterday riding the outer loop on my Salsa 29'er single speed and sent a few excercise related happy thoughts your way when I went by the lake! I've also got your Blog saved - it's too much fun of a read to forget...

MJ said...

You make me laugh so hard! Mostly because I can relate to about 99% of this list!!!
Happy new school year!

Momma Bear said...

In response to my blog..

You may want to start taking your daughter out to little lunches. From the time my kids were little.. to even now.. we will go out together.. alone.. and just catch up!

Now, if I can get a 16 yr old boy.. to go to an English tea.. here in Texas.. lol.. anyone can get a daughter to go someplace NEW (always a NEW and neutral spot) to eat.. and chat!

Maybe that's the difference.. I always seek out a place.. where they have something they see.. that they've NOT seen before.. including ME!! (mom). lol.

I feel for you having to start school so soon. ugh. The legislature in Texas mandated the beginning date here to Labor day.. due to the HIGH cost of cooling our schools. The kids get out first week in June! And, yes.. we get about one week at Thanksgiving, two for Christmas and one for Spring!

susan said...

This all sounds realistic to me. I actually had s student who would straighten my desk last year and then I'd have to ask her where she put things!

Ann(ie) said...

I am SO BAD at making lunches. My husband is always all over his meal the next day and I just figure I'll do it in the morning and then in the morning I have zero spare minutes so doesn't happen or I toss a yogurt in my purse because that's filling. *sigh* One day I'll get in the groove.

Anonymous said...

screw lunches and reading that is good for the soul. Grab a trash novel, head to the pool and enjoy a glass of wine. The rest will be there tomorrow, Mrs. Ambitious!