Jul. 27th, 2011

katernater: (doctor who • (tardis))
I had horrible insomnia last night. Which is weird, because at seven o'clock I was leaning on my arm while typing up student evaluations, literally a minute or two away from faceplanting into my laptop. I went to bed around ten thirty but couldn't fall asleep. I eventually got up and tried sleeping on the couch, like a change of venue was the problem. It wasn't. (FYI: If any of you ever get up here to visit me I'm not making you sleep on that couch; it's like a topographical map with a slipcover.) I went back to my bedroom and toughed it out and I guess I fell asleep around two or two thirty. The good thing about the whole thing was that the sleeplessness gave me a chance to think and I essentially reworked my whole NaNo concept for this year. I mean, to the point where I've scrapped my original idea entirely and gone in a wholly different direction -- right down to characters, setting, plot and time period. I decided that, to do justice to my original idea, I'd have to build a time machine out of used dishwasher parts, travel back to 1970s Britain and make friends with glam rockers. It's hard to explain. I could do it, but I feel like I actually need to live over in the U.K. before I start aping their slang and mannerisms, you know? So I'm putting that idea on the back burner and working to develop another project I've been kicking around in my head. It's kind of Philip K. Dick meets Inception meets the general tone of any Pink Floyd album. I'm going to start all over with the outlining process and, fingers crossed, I'll be ready to start writing at the beginning of November.

Work has been kind of stressful this week but it's the last week of the term and that's to be expected. I've been cheered up by my co-workers, though, and it's really great to have that kind of support system at the ready. It's also great to be around people who come from so many different backgrounds and levels of experience but who, at the same time, are a lot like me. My boss found out that I was a Doctor Who fan today and we spent, like, twenty minutes talking about which Doctor from the "classic" series was the best. My boss grew up with Four. I told him that I liked Two. We both agreed that Ten was awesome. I finally feel like I'm becoming part of that group. At the beginning it was a little hard for me to acclimate to my new job. I mean, everyone was terrific and very helpful, but there was still that stigma, like, "You're still a newbie and we're not completely comfortable with you yet." I feel like I'm starting to really make a place and an identity for myself. I feel more comfortable joking around and offering my honest opinion about things; generally when I'm new I like to keep my head down until I've earned the right to say something. After almost eight months I think I'm at the point where I can show a little bit more of my personality and weigh in on things.

I am really lucky to be where I am. It's stressful at times and I'm still not completely sure what I'm doing (and probably won't be completely sure for a long time), but I feel happy here. And, my gosh, you know when prospective teachers give you that line, like, "If I can help just one student learn something, that will be enough."? That's mostly bull. Teaching is a numbers game. A lot of the time, if students are just meeting the benchmark you're happy. If they get the concept and can prove that they can follow through with it, hallelujah. If more than half of the class can string a sentence together without too much trouble? You're doing pretty damn well. But I had one student in my writing class this term who struggled and really had to work on her skills. I worked with her one-on-one, got her additional help outside of class, and her skills really improved. She turned in an awesome research paper to me today. It was worlds better than her writing at the beginning of the term. I almost got choked up reading it. Seeing her succeed made my entire term. It was as close as I've come in my life to knowing what being a parent is like -- if being a parent involves long explanations about punctuation and subject-verb agreement.

It's still hot outside but I'm going to try to run anyway. I didn't run last night and that might have been part of the reason I couldn't sleep. Apparently I just need to exhaust myself to the point of collapsing if I want to get a decent eight hours.

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