An Ode to Midterms

Hello, dear readers! (Assuming there are any of you left out there after my longer-than-intended absence.) I’m back because, well, I finally have a moment to catch my breath. It’s midterm week, and for the first time since the summer, at this very moment, I have NOTHING on my desk that needs grading. This will change in about 43 minutes when my honors students, who are so diligently working now, hand in the midterm they are currently taking. But until then, I have 43 glorious minutes to bask in my grading efficiency. True, there is so much I could be doing right now, including reading Jane Eyre (is it English-teacher-sacrilege to say I don’t like it? At all.), which I intend to begin teaching with this class sitting here now, or planning the first week of my new senior elective that begins on Monday. But instead, I am choosing to bask in this quiet moment in my classroom, to take in the scratching of pens on paper that indicates there is thinking happening all around me, and reconnect here.


How can I explain my three-week absence? It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write or haven’t had ideas swirling around my mind that would have benefited from being put to paper. Many afternoons on the drive home from work, especially on difficult days, I would begin composing a post in my head, fitting words together, thinking of intriguing first sentences. Determined to break the dry spell, I would swear to myself that as soon as I entered the apartment, I would sit down at my computer and pour out what I had already mentally written. But then, I wouldn’t. Instead, our soft white couch would beckon me to its cloud-like fold, I’d find something mindless to watch on Hulu, and remain there, a sad, exhausted lump, until Eric walked through the door, and I could no longer justify my state of utter vegetation.


You see, I think I lured some of you here under the guise that this would be a blog about teaching. And I know that in order to grow as a teacher, I absolutely must be a reflective practitioner. But most days, when I come home, I am so spent from actually doing the teaching, that the last thing in the world I want to do is sit down and think about teaching. No, I’d rather think about nothing. Or watch The Mindy Project. Same difference.


In any case, here’s a teaching-related list for you. It’s called, “Things I Love About Midterm Week:”


1. Students are gone by 10:45, and then I have the entire afternoon in my classroom by myself to grade. It’s quiet. No one bothers me. I can listen to music on my classroom speakers. I can go to the bathroom or for a walk whenever I want. I can’t stress how amazing this is.


2. I treat myself by going to Starbucks at 11 am every day. This is great because a) I can actually leave the building in the middle of the day, and b) the coffee makes me so much more efficient with grading.

3. I wear jeans all week, and it’s totally acceptable, especially because the students show up in their pajama pants. (By the way, I think this is kind of gross.)


4. I’m not as physically exhausted by the end of the day, because I’m not standing up, moving around, and using my voice all day as I normally would. This means I have extra energy to go to the gym, which makes me feel so much better overall.


5. My terrible Children’s Literature elective ends and is replaced by an awesome Contemporary Literature elective. I *will* muster the strength and perspective to reflectively write about this Children’s Literature experience one day. But not today.


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