I was shopping for cliffs to jump off of . . .
On the Big Island of Hawaii, I have a lot of options for this action.
But then I went and got inspired again. Damn this cyclical life of ours. I wanted to quit!
What I didn't know amid my suicidal despondency over what seemed to be an ineffective teaching strategem, method, content, etc. is that "I" wasn't the problem, my students weren't the problem, the school wasn't the problem, furlough fridays weren't the problem, the aftereffects of disasterous Bush Administration policies weren't the problem - the problem was that I was still infected with "the shoulds"!
I should be teaching Lord of the Flies.
I should be receiving perfectly punctuated constructed responses.
I should be doing the most inspiring, hands-on activities everyday, all-the-time.
I should find a way to leave school at 3pm everyday.
I should stay afterschool until 5pm to plan the next day, everyday.
I should eat fewer hotpockets for lunch.
Should, should, should, should, shouuuullllllldy should should
Where did that damn word come from anyway . . .? Let's see, dictionary.com - ah! From the Old English "sc(e)olde" - another word for small.
Yes, "should" makes you feel small, small indeed. The word "should", although usually spoken with honorable intentions holds its meaning with the negative. If you "should" be doing something, that means that there is something that you are NOT doing. It's like a lollipop with frayed electrical wires cooked in. I'm sorry if that analogy doesn't work for you.
I had a "should" infection!
But no more! I realize that there is nothing I "should" be doing - all that counts is what I do right now, in the present. I now teach completely in the present.