Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lots of Words for Plumb Worn Out

I am so tired.

So tired that after I wrote that sentence, I considered leaving it as is, a one sentence blog post. Then I figured it would be more appropriate as a status update on Facebook. I sat, staring stupidly into space, wondering if it would be easier to click over and rewrite it, or copy and paste it. I thought about it for what might have been a very long time.

Neither one seemed easy enough.

I am so sleepy.

My first day back to work was my colleague's first day out. Her three month medical leave perfectly backed up against my three month maternity leave. We didn't quite get to pass the baton. And her medical needs escalated so quickly at the end that there was no time to arrange for a substitute teacher. So my first day back, we're down a teacher -the only teacher qualified to teach GED classes- and I'm winging it.

Covering for my colleague, without any of my regular duties, could be my whole job, and I wouldn't run out of things to do. But that's not my whole job. And I'm feeling so spent.

I planned curriculum for my leave, left three detailed months in the hands of another colleague, who covered my parenting classes while I was home parenting my own children. I came back to big stacks of curriculum to assess so I can take over my classes again. But I haven't even had a moment to skim the stacks. So I'm winging it, making lessons out of thin air, observation, and an ongoing attempt to get to know the new parents who started our program while I was out.

Curriculum -planning and teaching it- used to be my whole job. It kept me plenty busy. There's so much more to do now. And I'm beat.

The funding is cut, but the advocacy isn't. There are letters to be written and congressional offices to be called, and websites to be visited to stay on top of the changing news, and information to be digested, interpreted, shared with my team. There are questions to be formulated, and answers to be sought, and plans to be made, and back-up plans for when the first plans potentially fall apart. I am so winging it here.

Political advocacy is a job I've never done. It's a job I might have grown into slowly, through years of experience in the field. Or, in this case, overnight. And not a night with nearly enough hours for sleeping, did I mention? I am feeling fatigued.

We have a major visit quickly approaching, in which the person directly responsible for funding our program comes to see if we are meeting all the requirements in the legislation that originally created it. This happens once every four years, and it's the first time it's ever happened with me at the helm. I'm following detailed written instructions and a long list of highly specified legal requirements. And yet, it still pretty much feels like I'm winging it.

Preparing for this visit could easily fill every minute of every day between now and the time it takes place. But I don't have that many minutes available. And I'm feeling so done for.

After the visit is done I start our annual report. At this point, it looks like I will still have to write the whole darn thing, even though it may well be the last time I write it, since further funding is not -as of this juncture- forthcoming. Every year this report is the biggest, hardest, most time-consuming-est thing I do. With so many other things to do, I'm afraid this year I'll be winging it.

I'm dog tired. All petered out, played out, tuckered out, plumb worn out.

But when I look back on this fifty years from now, I don't think that's what I'll remember. I think I'll remember that I did it. That I kept my head above water. That when my limbs were nearly limp from exhaustion, I kept on treading.

1 comment:

  1. Two jobs plus advocacy plus two kids and self is definitely a lot to handle. One colleague told me how she went back to work 3 months after giving birth (many years ago) and was so tired at the time that when she looks back at reports that have her name on them from that period, she doesn't even remember working on them. Hopefully it can only get easier from this point on. How is the baby sleeping at night?