Professional Development and Time Off the Clock

Taking a sick day at work can be unnerving because I feel like people are in your business about it. Some teachers are constantly bragging about how much sick and personal time they’ve saved, and I need to remind myself that not only do I have a lot going on, but also that the job can be stressful and that everyone’s life situation is different, mine included. At the end of the day, you really just have to listen to yourself, keep your priorities intact, do your best, and let the chips fall where they may.

Yesterday I got a warning letter for leaving work last Tuesday at 3:31 instead of 3:35. I accepted it for what it was but was a little mad at myself, because I really could have refrained from leaving for four more minutes that day. (That would have been easy to control, unlike coming in on time with added variables like traffic and alternate side parking.) Lesson learned. Behavior to be avoided in the future.

Things have been busy. Grades are averaged, recorded, and submitted. Meetings have been attended. Papers have been collected and filed. Documents have been noted and signed. College recommendation letters have been drafted and printed. Tomorrow is another late night for parent conferences. I got only four hours of sleep last night, woke up feeling sick this morning, printed out the directions I’d need to navigate forty-one miles to the school site I was to report to today, and walked my dog (who then ate something off the street and nearly choked on it, necessitating me to manually dislodge whatever she’d ingested. It was a critical moment and totally unexpected. Thank God it worked out.) But yeah, I called in sick. And I definitely don’t have a lot of days in my bank and have a few latenesses chalked up this year due to the longer commute. But it is what it is.

Sometimes teachers deliberately miss professional development days because a lot figure that the students aren’t in anyway, and they can be a pain, but lately I’ve actually enjoyed them. At the last one we had a Tai Chi workshop and I discovered that I like it. Today we were supposed to be working with another school’s staff and get breakfast. It could have been a really fun day. Overall, I am disappointed about missing it, but I’m realizing that I really don’t want to be burned out for parent conferences tomorrow. I have a really amazing group of sophomores this year, and today I need to rest.

In positive news, my smart board is again working and hooked up to my classroom computer. It took a couple of months, but it’s been fixed and is functional now.

The union is blowing up my phone and my email, trying to get me to appeal last year’s ineffective rating. I know the consequences of getting two in a row can be bad, but the last time this happened to me it wasn’t all too helpful, and filing the requisite documentation proved a lot more aggravating than just sucking it up. Some battles aren’t worth it but you don’t always see that going into them. So it’s a crapshoot, but I won’t be initiating filing on it this time. I’ve got too much else going on. Ironically a large part of it involves my investment of time into planning and assessment. Getting started on a bureaucratic boondoggle is not going to be a productive endeavor, especially since I’ve tried it before. At the end of the day, I need to just listen to myself, keep my priorities intact, do my best, and let the chips fall where they may. Any support I find along the way is gravy. Sometimes it comes from unexpected places.

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