Personal Day #sol16

slice of lifeI didn’t go to work today. Instead, I took a personal day to attend the Joint Committee on Education hearing at the State House. (I was actually lucky enough to testify before the Committee about this, thanks to this amazing organization!)

My day started similarly enough; after dropping K off at daycare, I went to Starbucks. But at 8:45, I was walking through Harvard Yard, sipping my chai latte. At 8:55, I crammed into the tin rocket of the Red Line, my body crushed against the bodies of other people for whom this day was part of their typical schedule. At 9:05 I was rattling underneath the streets of Cambridge instead of listening to the rhythmic hum of the copier. Every time I glanced at the clock for the rest of the day, I thought: “Oh, this is what I would be doing if I was at school today.” I have spent practically my entire life in school. Pre-school to kindergarten to elementary school to middle school to high school to college to grad school to teaching: I have never not been invested in the daily work of schools.

Occasionally I forget that this is not how the other half of the world lives and works. If I were a lawyer, a secretary, working in banking or business, this day would have been commonplace. I spent the entire day with adults. I went out for lunch in the middle of the day — at an actual restaurant — and had more than 25 minutes to swallow my food. I got to look at my phone whenever I wanted. I watched the Boston Public Schools students take over Park Street and did not feel compelled to enter Teacher Mode (well, a little bit, but I resisted).

On my walk home at the totally strange hour of 2:00pm (a time I would normally be IMG_0005.JPGreminding my 4th period class to keep it together for another 30 minutes), I saw these
poking through my neighbor’s yard. With all the wacky weather we’ve had lately, I sort of forgot that we have crested the verge of spring: crocuses, budding trees, the yellow mist of forsythia.

I know days like this won’t happen very often, but it was a nice break, a chance to breathe. Every day for 180 days, we GO GO GO GO GO, chained to the bell schedule, after-school meetings, professional development, living lives of our own when we take off our teacher hats. Today reminded me that when I take on too much, try to simultaneously look backwards at what my students just did and forwards at what they’re going to do next, I forget to simply stop and notice what’s happening around me.


7 thoughts on “Personal Day #sol16

  1. Beautifully captured sentiment here. I get the feeling that although this was a nice break in your normal routine, you really wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I’m glad you stopped to notice the budding flowers.


  2. “Oh, this is what I would be doing if I was at school today.” The thoughts of a true educator. Always thinking about his/her class even on a day off, holiday, summer vacation.


  3. I have a connection! My daughter was born in January (5 years ago!) and I stopped working when the Winter Break began. I enjoyed the 2 weeks, but then spent the next two thinking about what would be happening at school, just like you described. However, over the course of the year I hardly thought of it at all! 🙂


  4. Ariel, what a worthwhile and productive personal day you had! I know that feeling of “this is what I would be doing if…” It is so wonderful to have the moments that take out of the regular routine so that we do stop and take it all in.


  5. Gold star, Ariel! This is how you have a personal day. I loved this line: “I spent the entire day with adults.” Such a big deal for those of us who don’t have that life. Your post made me feel like I was out walking around, too. Loved the images, the descriptions. Most importantly, though, I’m glad you took the time for you.


  6. what a lovely personal day! I especially love your take-aways from the day. It is absolutely so important that we stop and notice what is around us, but so often that doesn’t happen in the busyness of our days. This is definitely a struggle close to my heart.


  7. Thank you for sharing your “personal day.”
    I love your last point: “Today reminded me that when I take on too much, try to simultaneously look backwards at what my students just did and forwards at what they’re going to do next, I forget to simply stop and notice what’s happening around me.”
    So true!


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