Monday, August 24, 2009

Medication and procrastination

It's been a good Monday so far, but I have many items left on my to-do list for today. In case anyone should happen to read this who doesn't know me personally, let me tell you what I do for a living.

First, I'm a part-time middle English teacher. I've been teaching altogether for nine years - this is my tenth. I've been teaching middle school for four years, going on five now. I love the creatures that are defined as "middle school students." They are unlike any other living, breathing being on the planet and I can't imagine my work day without them. That's not to say, however, that they don't drive me stark-raving crazy sometimes!

For instance, I have a student who is seriously incapable of being still. He can't sit without tapping, rocking, or contorting himself into some form of a pretzel. He often gets up and walks around. He talks out in class when he shouldn't, and often just talks to himself. He's a pleasant boy and I truly believe he doesn't mean to cause trouble. But he does.

And this is one time when I firmly believe some medication would help the situation. I'm not one of those who wants to tranquilize every student that talks without raising her hand, or that gets out of his seat a couple times each class period to sharpen a pencil, throw something away, grab a tissue from my desk, etc. Middle school creatures are very energetic. It's in their nature and we shouldn't ask them to be otherwise.

HOWEVER, there are some conditions that require medical intervention and I think this boy is walking case study. He can't concentrate on what we're reading, so he can't answer questions when we're done. On top of that, he distracts others around him.

So, my plea to anyone who might ever read this who might have a child similar to the one I'm describing is: If your child's teachers tell you they see this type of behavior and this behavior is interfering with your child's learning, please consider a visit to the doctor. Consider an evaluation. It might make the classroom a much more pleasant place for everyone to be.

This blog's run longer than I intended so I'll be brief on the procrastination (rather than put it off for another day). In addition to teaching, I also do some freelance writing. I read business books and write summaries of them. Occasionally, these books are interesting. You can guess what they are when they aren't interesting. But they help pay the bills, so I read them and write about them.

I put off reading the one I had for July for a couple weeks because it was summer and I wanted a break. My editor was awesome about that and gave me as much time as I needed. I turned in my summary about two weeks later than I normally would have, but I had to push to get it in before school started because I'd put it off for so long. Then, I had to push hard to get ready for the first couple of days of school. I have a novel that I'm pitching and another one I'm doing background stuff for so that I can start writing it. The new novel hasn't been touched for over a month. Bad writer. Bad.

When I keep myself organized - school, freelance, home stuff (laundry, etc.), novel - then I can pretty much stay on top of everything. But I'm telling ya, vacation's a killer. (But I wouldn't trade summer break for . . . well, for a lot of things. I would trade it for an offer of representation AND a sale of my book, though.)

OK....My newest business book is lying open beside me, calling to me for attention. I owe it at least another half hour. Then there are clothes to steam, dinner to make, and papers to grade.

Oh - and a novel to pitch and one to write.

I'd better get busy.
Talk to ya soon.

1 comment:

  1. Going back and reading these since I didn't catch it from the beginning, I completely agree, and I find it quite amusing how true this is. I also find it amusing that how since I am a freshman at Argos that when I look around at most of the kids that used to be hyper through elementary and middle school, now they are falling asleep in class. It just tickles me to see the great change that takes place between the 8th and 9th grades.