Small Lights in these Dark Days

I worked hard this week to implement some of those changes I posted about on Monday. It was a short week, and thankfully it felt it, so I’m not yet sure if any of these changes will make a real difference. I hope so.

One thing that definitely made a difference was what was happening in my classes. The week after break, when I was miserable, I had very “teaching intensive” lessons planned in pretty much every class every day. That is hard. It’s super tiring to stand in front of the class, constantly managing their behavior, as you try to impart information. Last week I was implementing the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum that I offered to teach because the district mandates that we teach it, and I think it’s important, and I have all the 6th graders so, why not? Well, evidently the answer to that is the SEL curriculum is super energy intensive and teaching it 12 times over a week (each lesson requires two class periods) is soul crushingly tedious. So far I’ve been teaching one lesson over one week but I think moving forward I’ll teach the lesson on Thur/Fri and then Mon/Tues so I have a break in between, and I’ll try to teach more “activity intensive” (as in the kids spend at least 15 minutes working on something) lesson on the other days.

So that insight was helpful.

Of course yesterday was a dark, dark day. I’m trying to find a healthy balance between processing my feelings and fears and setting them aside when I need to focus on other things. Only time will tell if I’m managing all of this in a productive manner.

In the meantime I’m trying hard to find the pin pricks of light in this dark tunnel. Here are some of the things that have made me happy lately:

  • My daughter is listening to the Series of Unfortunate Events books, so we were super excited when the Netflix show started last Friday. We’re having a lot of fun watching those together. I really love reading books and then watching the corresponding movies/shows with her. It’s one of my favorite parts of parenting.
  • Last weekend my kids and I built an epic fort off the new bunk bed. I’ve always love building forts, and always wanted a bunk bed (mostly because it’s the best for making forts), so that was really fun.
  • My husband and I watched three episodes of The OA in one night last weekend, which is as close to binge watching as we’re able to get these days. I have fond memories of plowing through entire seasons of Battlestar Galactica in a weekend, so it was fun to revisit that fervent, “let’s watch another one” energy. We watched the final episode on Sunday night. The whole show is really good.
  • I saw two comedy shows last weekend as part of SFSketchFest, which is a three-week long comedy festival that comes to San Francisco every January. Both shows were amazing. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
  • Our regular child care provider was not available for this week’s PTA meeting so I volunteered to watch the kids. I got a bunch of glow stick bracelets and we spent 45 minutes in the dark, on the upper yard, throwing a 100 glow sticks around. At one point it was me against every one else and I was getting pelted at every turn. I haven’t run that long in a while. It was a ton of fun. The kids loved it and I was proud to have thought of such a fun way to spend the time.
  • I got to have lunch with my friend on Friday at work. I love having lunch with a friend at work.
  • Also at work, my 7th/8th graders were being super goofy on Friday and I indulged them enough to allow a hilarious situation to unfold. It’s those super silly moments that the kids will always remember that I love about teaching.
  • I found some Mexican hot chocolate mix that has elevated my morning coffee to experience significantly.
  • A couple of books on my library waitlist became available. Yay!
  • I have a new idea for how I’m going to illustrate my soccer chapter. It could be really cool.

And now I have to go because my kids are fighting and my husband is frustrated. But the sun is out for the first time in five days so I’m hanging on to hope that this weekend might be okay…


  1. Sounds like you had a lot of great stuff going on! It’s very impressive how you came up with a plan to turn things around and already are already seeing great results from it.

  2. this is an interesting document! you can read crowd estimates from large cities to small towns all around the US and the world (with citations!)
    Crowd Estimates, 1.21.2017

    Oakland was peaceful and wonderful. This on top of your impressive report of learning and progress and laughter with tents was grand.

  3. Hooray for changes that bring results! Very exciting.

    Man I wish my 6 year old would watch “Series of Unfortunate Events”…she says it is too scary. Looks like I’m going to have to watch that one solo. I’ll put The OA on my list. Looks good!

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