October 8, 2012

Long time, no... anything?

(This is a shopping bag from a great independent bookstore in 
Shepherdstown, WV, Four Seasons Books)

I haven't updated this blog since August 16th. The unintended leave of absence over the last few months speaks volumes for the amount of personal time I've had recently.

Our last few weeks of summer were spent cleaning out Cory's aunt's house in Missouri. She unexpectedly passed away and we unexpectedly now have responsibility of her house and properties (*wanna buy a house + 40 acres of land in Missouri? Let me know!). After we spent a week working our butts off and cleaning out years upon years of memories, it was time for us to return to Maryland to start the school year.

To say that this school year has been a challenge so far is an understatement. With 45+ states shifting to the Common Core curriculum and Maryland adopting the PARCC tests next year, the pressure is on for teachers. My school switched to a new schedule where I am teaching more students and have 30 minutes less of planning time every day. To put it bluntly, I'm overwhelmed and overworked. The shifts that I need to make in my lessons to be "Common Core Aligned" is extremely daunting because I'm certainly not an expert in the curriculum yet and I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel every time I get started.

I've been trying really hard to keep positive and keep up with the snowball of work that is bound to roll over and squish me before the hints of summer flirt with me, but I'm writing so I can admit that it has been really, really hard.

With the transition, I have very little time to myself. I have never had much time after work to have a social life due to grading papers, planning, etc., but believe it or not, this year it's worse. Cory and I are running straight home to eat whatever leftovers we have in the fridge just to spend the next 3+ hours a night doing school work. Gone are the days that we might be able to catch the Monday Night Football game at our favorite local pub and indulge on their .20 cent wing special or meet up with some girlfriends for Thursday night dinner. I have only picked up a crochet hook one time since August. ONCE!

I haven't even had time to paint my own fingernails.

I guess all this is to say that I miss blogging, I'm miss crocheting, and I'm really missing being able to have control over my personal time.

Now, if you follow me on Instagram (liz_matheny) or Twitter, you're probably aware that I spent the past weekend in Boston with some college friends. I need to be honest--when the school year started to present itself in this fashion (i.e. when I realized I had little to no personal time), I started purposefully booking trips just to ensure that I would still get to see my friends and force myself to do something other than school work. This plan has worked out well so far. I had something planned one weekend a month in August, September, and October. I need to start thinking ahead to the winter months as I'm sure I'll be needing some friend-time!

I like my students and I like the school where I teach. I'm trying really hard to do right by them. But when can I start giving myself that same treatment?


P.S. If you're a teacher or work in the school system, how do you handle or balance the stress of the job and personal time? I would love any advice or tips/tricks to make this a better situation for me (and my husband)! Thanks!


  1. oh i find myself in the same trap. leave the school where i work to immediately go home, scarf down dinner, and start working on student assesments/lessonplans or grad school work. good idea booking weekend trips, i need to try that before i burn myself out!

  2. Liz, my dear, we are in the exact same boat--and luckily this boat is big enough for both of us...and the countless other teachers who have said the same things this year. I have no tips. I have no tricks. But, I think above anything else that I've learned these past few years, it is this: The kids will be there. The teaching will happen. The learning will happen. And, you taught me this--a couple crappy days doesn't make a whole year. You are an amazing teacher and I know that they are learning so much from you. But, you need to retain that "you-ness" that you're feeling is lost.

    With that, I hope we can plan a de-stressing day sometime soon. NO WORK TALK.