Twenty days into the school year and it feels like normal again. To borrow that horrible, oft-used phrase, a new normal, but it's mine. I feel like I'm really teaching, kids are behaving as kids really do--good, bad, and goofy--and we're starting to get past that awkward dance we have to do for the beginning of school when we don't know each other. Routines are set, rules are being enforced, and we're getting to actually talk about books instead of doing all that "let's go over expectations" junk.
I like it. My seniors are in one of my--ahem, sorry guys!--driest units, the 18th & 19th century British novel, and even though it's not my thing, I've been with this unit for long enough now that I have a good idea of what I want them to glean from their novel choices. This past week has been a good mix of lecture, writing help, and group discussion. Exactly what I want my classes to be. My freshmen have been reading The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell, which could easily win the award for my least favorite story to teach, if only for the reason that it seems like I'm always teaching it. It's the first selection in their literature book, so it's our first foray into things we read together. In that same way it always feels like it's Monday, it always feels like I'm teaching MDG again. I'm taking these successes in teaching things I don't like as good omens that when I get to stuff I love, it's going to continue to be great.
Honestly the best thing about the last two weeks has been the ability to take a long walk in the park during my morning prep period. I've been working hard before school--what's been my prep time for the last three years--and that's still working great so I find myself with some free time from 10:15-11:15 each morning. I work next to one of THE most beautiful parks and it has a lovely 2 mile trail. It's the perfect distance to walk a loop and head back to work. I thought it would be good for me to move (and it is) but more surprising was how much easier that real break is making it to get through my afternoon. I'm having a much easier time tackling the challenges of the last two classes of the day and I think it's because I can leave and hit the pause button for a bit. I can see this having some nice mental health benefits when things get crazy. I've been walking with a friend a few of the days, but many of the walks have been solo. Just me and m'iPod. Or when I forget my headphones, just me and m'nature sounds. And duck friends. Lurve.
E and I made some financial choices this week and decided I need to cancel my gym membership. It's been on hold all summer, but I was thinking I'd start back up again in October. Since it doesn't seem like a good use of our money for now, I've started back up again with Insanity workouts. I made it about three weeks this summer and then we were out of town in the middle of East Jesus Nowhere and I got behind... So I started again. Clearly I'm not running... or doing anything else. Time to get moving. Yesterday was Day 2; Twinkle helped me stretch (above). Day 3 today, and I did it as I flipped around and watched the DNC coverage. Multitasking. Ideally I'd like to get back on a schedule where I can get up and work out early and then be done for the day. That didn't happen today because I'm not sleeping well at night. But we'll see. Hopefully tonight I'm back on track and can get that going tomorrow.