We have been in school about a month. Usually at this time I am in my groove; there should be a flow to everything we are doing (with the few inevitable bumps). But this year I’m having trouble getting my groove back. My rhythm feels off.
Our schedule has changed so that has impacted lots of other aspects of the day. This means a lot more itinerant journeys for me. We share rooms so the rooms are in constant use all day long. When I am not teaching I need to leave the room so my colleague can use the room for her classes. In previous years I felt grounded in the classroom space; it was a home base, in part because right after morning advisory was my first class in the same space. This year I feel like a visitor in the space, gathering my materials for peripatetic walks between a cramped and piled office space (my fault), the library where I do most of my work, the hallways where I can read, or a very distant advisory space.
This advisory space is on the second floor far from the classroom, far from the middle school actually. Sometimes getting into the hallway where the advisory space is located is tricky because it isn’t always open. I have to shout through the small crack in the door for someone on the other side to open it up. And then the space really isn’t mine or even ours. It’s the drama room and therefore is unoccupied early in the morning when most of the advisory periods meet. There are lots of rules about what we can and can’t do in that space, about what we can or can’t touch. One might think that a drama room would be an awesome space to use, but somehow it feels as if our spontaneity has been limited.
It’s like being groundless, without moorings. This wandering takes a lot of energy. The classroom environment is very important to me. I am totally territorial. But I somehow don’t feel connected to any of my spaces in the school in a deep way anymore.
I know this is a lot of whining and complaining, something I don’t usually do. And I really do love my job. The kids are challenging and inspiring. The curriculum is engaging. My colleagues awesome. But somehow I feel adrift in the spaces I occupy at school, or rather in the spaces I don’t really occupy. This is impacting my ability to focus and concentrate. I think it is also affecting my level of commitment.
I could rearrange my desk in our common office space, which would also allow me to visit and meet with my colleagues more often. I could be better prepared and more efficient as well. By planning a bit better I wouldn’t feel like I had to lug everything around with me everywhere I go. I could take the very long way (the very long way= about a quarter mile) around to the drama room so I wouldn’t have to deal with the occasionally locked door.
Change is hard. I know, I know–Challenges make for creative and inspired solutions. I know, I know–It’s the people in the space, not the space or rather the spaces, per se. And yet, there is something about being centered in a familiar, consistent, singular place. I really need to get a handle on this soon.
Right now, maybe an adult beverage will help.