Since I began teaching last year, a good chunk of my every weekend is sacrificed to lesson planning. I remember the first weekend of school last year, dragging myself to the library and it taking the better part of Saturday AND Sunday for me to plan a week of lessons for the three different courses I taught. In the midst of this library-bender, I called my best friend (who is a very talented teacher with a few more years of experience than me) and cried, completely overwhelmed by the idea that I’d never again have free time on a weekend. I could envision myself, tearful and jittery from the coffee I’d need to get through the year, chained to a library table for the next 40 weeks. When would I have a chance to rest? To recharge my battery? To have some fun and some balance in my life?
Thankfully, and she assured me of this at the time (though I’m sure I didn’t believe her), planning became easier the more I did it. And I’ve been genuinely surprised to find how much easier it is for me to plan lessons this year compared with last. This is partially due to the fact that I’m reteaching one of my courses, which means I do not need to make every handout, every lesson from nothing. Rather, I can tweak and reuse much of what I did last year. This is such a blessing, and has cut my planning time by hours.
Still, I do currently dedicate the better part of one day each weekend to planning, leaving my stacks of grading for weekday evenings. I struggle with whether Saturday or Sunday is the better day to work – sometimes the week leaves me so burnt out I can’t possibly think about work until Sunday. However, if I leave the work until Sunday, I sometimes return to school Monday feeling as if I never got a break from school. I’ve been experimenting with using Saturday to lesson plan this year, as I chose to do this weekend. Having made shopping plans with my best friend for tomorrow, I know I won’t be able to use Sunday for planning, so here I sit, in my grad school library, surrounded by my computer, coffee, daily planner and books. I’m more motivated to work here, likely because there are so many others around me doing the same. The collective effect of so many brains whirring and spinning and producing is sweet nourishment for my own mind. It also helps that this library features large windows onto the street, and I relish the opportunity observe the beautiful fall day and just daydream. Watching others move about on the street motivates me to finish my work and rejoin society. Though it can be difficult to get started on a glorious day like today, I like the idea of leaving no work for tomorrow, so that I can simply enjoy some time with my friend, a person I love and have so much fun with, without having the black cloud of planning hanging over my head.