02 August 2009

The trade-off...

It occured to me, one of the things I enjoyed most this summer, was not writing in my blog. I was under the impression that, during the summer, when I had copious amounts of time to do, well, whatever with, I assumed all of this free time would allow me to write to my heart's content. However, what I figured out about myself this summer was, as much as I sometimes enjoy writing, I gained an almost sick satisfaction out of not writing, to the point that sometimes, I would be sitting around, with what I thought would be an excellent blog topic, but instead turned on the XBox or the DVD, and decided to do something considerably less productive, albeit more entertaining for me (at least in the short term). Now that the school year is rapidly approaching, and I have a list of things to do on the never-ending "to do" list, it seems that writing in this will be easier. Who would have ever imagined it would be easier to manage your time when you have actual events you can't just blow off becasue you don't feel like doing so (for example, I think I've needed a haircut for the last week, and I live within a quarter of a mile of the place that cuts my hair (I believe people call them "barbers"), but yet, have found neither the motivation and/or the need to get it done.

I decided to go up to a debate camp I used to work at, to visit some friends (this may speak of the hum-drum that is my life, that I go to visit a debate camp, and would consider it "fun"), and a couple of us decide to go out to dinner (this was more complicated than we would have imagined, as the place we went to eat was closed. As in, not open for business, no menus, gutted kitchen closed. Apparently, the establishement had gone out of business on Thursday (this is on a Saturday) and would be re-opening on Monday, with different food, but open nonetheless. So we decided to go to another location...but while at the table, waiting for food, my friends seemed to really be enjoying not being on the campus, working with the kids, and that any time they could get away would be greatly appreciated. And it's not as if they don't enjoy working with the kids. Actually, I think it's quite the contrary. They really do enjoy what they do, and do it with a high sense of pride in their work/obligation to their craft. I think this applies to all teachers. Anyone can show someone how to do something, but the act of teaching is more than that. It requires giving part, sometimes more parts than anticipated/expected, of yourself to insure that the students are the recipients of all they deserve, and that they, as teachers, have done all they can to improve the education of even one student....I sometimes forget of the trials and tribulations of working at a debate camp...working with high school kids for between 12-16 hours in a day can really wear you down. I really like doing it, but it really is like performing, all day long. As a teacher, you really don't get to wear your emotions on your sleeves, and when you're having a bad day, you've pretty much have to botle it all in. It's the reason why, after numerous days on the staff, I would walk the mile and a half to get to the closest bar. At the beginning, I justified it to myself as i just needed to have a beer, and drinking in public wasn't a legitimate option for me, as I wasn't in New Orleans or Las Vegas. But afetr awhile, I noticed I began looking forward to the almost 45 minute walk to the bar, as it offered me some solitude, which was hard to come by in a common living situation. Once I arrived at the bar, I was in the normal world. Nobody would ask me any questions about the affirmative. Nobody would ask me if I had given the debate on substantial any real thought, or if I thought the states counterplan would devistate this domestic topic. In fact, nobody would ask me anything. This. Was. Awesome. It meant, for an hour a day, I was allowed to be anonymous, and I really enjoyed it. I was allowed to have a beer and chat up the Giants with some random guy sitting next to me (and state my allegiance for my Twins). I was allowed to eat peanuts and throw them on the floor. I was allowed to play as much Outkast on the jukebok as I cared to, knowing it made some of the white women uncomfortable. But more importantly, I was allowed to be human, if only for an hour.

After about 45 minutes, I took them back to the campus, where they both jumped back in, head first, to an almost insane amount of work, refreshed, and feeling like they didn't miss a stride. As I drove home, I remembered how much I loved throwing myself into the job, but I also remember how much I hated not getting time to "stop and smell the roses", which is the very point of theses highly intensive, work driven, results oriented summer camps. And I realized, I didn't miss it. The part I missed, I can do, on my own, and it's more effective (the research part). And the rest of the good just doesn't seem to outweigh the bad, which is just losing your life for the exact block of time you're commited to filling. It's 6:45, and if I was there, I'd be working right now. But instead, as soon as I finsih this sentence, I intend on watching the Simpsons....

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