Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thank god it's almost...Wednesday

Hello, my name is Julie, and I am lazy. And a procrastinator.

This is not a revelation, to me or anyone who knows me. However, it's starting to get to me.

From the beginning:
Last year, as you may know, loyal readers (all ten of you), I often put off homework grading, because it was long and tedious and I just didn't want to do it. On my preps, I would sit and chat with friends and colleagues, to decompress and relax. Also, for one whole semester's class of grad school, nearly half of my own assignments were turned in late. Because I just didn't care and I was tired of everything, beginning in March or April.

Anyway, this summer, I was determined to lick this laziness thing. So I was a nearly model student for my summer classes, going to class every day and doing my homework on time and paying attention, all that good stuff. Not only that, I worked actively to prepare for this year, starting back in July.

In late August, the real rush was on. I shopped, in stores and online, for school supplies. I typed out ideas for and samples of lessons, letters, and homework. All kinds of stuff.

I know that when school started in September, I really worked my ass off, at school and at home. I marked the homework on my preps. I found resources and planned things at home. I continued to do well with grad school classes, staying on top of the assignments and classes.

About three weeks ago, I got hit. Hit by what some fans of The Amazing Race call 'the Killer Fatigue.' I just lost my motivation to do anything--outside of school. I still worked like a crazed bunny during school hours, but some of the homework started to pile up a bit. My rationale was/is that after school, I need the detox and relaxation time, for me. After a full-to-the-brim day, who wants to come home and work some more, when you could just sit and do nothing?

Also, remember all my hats? Or all the things on my plate? Yeah, that's what's really getting me down. To somehow be a full-time teacher, and 'be responsible' for five other things during school hours, is just beyond the scope of my abilities at this time.

For instance: the donations that I was supposed to be responsible for...about three weeks ago, I talked to my contact in Mississippi, promising I would get a couple boxes out in a few days. Cut to last Thursday, when I enter the room where the many donations had already been sitting for a good month: all of it was gone.

Oh, shit.

Now, my concern is not really for the donations themselves. I'm kind of scared to ask anyone what happened to it all, but I will assume that someone either arranged to have it all picked up and brought to one of the hotels housing the displaced families, or that some of the families came and got it all.

My concern is the woman in Mississippi, and the people in her community who have been expecting the fruits of strangers' goodwill. There was plenty of goodwill, there just wasn't enough of me or time, or even boxes, so that I could get down to the room and sort it and pack it.

I just feel awful, because my procrastination and laziness is now going to affect other people, strangers even, and people who've already been robbed of their possessions or dignity. We were supposed to help. The students and some faculty did their job and donated items; I just couldn't figure out how to deal with all of it. (And really, there was a whole lot. It was far too overwhelming to contemplate sorting/packing it all on my own. That's why I always brought a group of my students during their/my lunch hour. They were more than happy to help me out and it was mostly productive. Anyway.)

So, in the spirit of fighting back against the aforementioned laziness, I have done several things to combat it.

First, I finally, just ten minutes ago, emailed the homework assignment that was due a week and a half ago. I also read the first few pages of the next chapter, which is now late as well. I plan to finish that by the weekend, and then get back on track with the next one, due at the end of next weekend.

Next, I worked out again on Sunday. In the week prior to that, I had not worked out at all. It felt good to try to work those muscles again.

Third, and most importantly, I gave an unusual homework to my own classes tonight: bring in one item to donate. Just one. A piece of clothing, a kitchen tool (no food though), anything as long as it's clean and in good condition. I told them that they will not be penalized for not donating, but that the point was to help them see that even though they are kids, they can still help make the world a better place. And also, if each person gives only one thing, which is so easy, and 100 people participate, that will add up very quickly and make a large difference.

The Mississippi lady also wants to start a penpal exchange with her students and ours, so I included that in tonight's "homework."

The kids responded very well. Shouldn't be too surprising, because they're great about regular homework; they're probably just excited to not have to write a damn four square essay. But they asked about what to bring or not, and a few agreed to bring in boxes. I told them I will just have them drop their donations into a box, and I'll tape them up and bring them to UPS at the end of the day.

And then, if that actually happens, I can call the lady tomorrow evening, with a clear conscience and relief, and tell her that some things are on the way.

Hi, I'm Julie, and I'm a fighter of laziness!


Anonymouph said...

Wow! I'm impressed with your creative and resourceful solution to your problem with the missing donations. The whole fiasco sounds like something I would have gotten myself into, and I don't envy you. However, it sounds like you're making the best of the situation.

If I don't get a chance to tell you later, have a super Thanksgiving, Julie!

Rebecca said...

Wow. Super Julie, fighting the evil forces of laziness!

I'm something of a closet procrastinator, myself. I get things done on time, but I'm very good at sitting down at the computer with the intention to write a paper and instead spending the next hour talking to my friends online...

Nancy said...

Oy. Julie, you make me feel so bad! You've inspired me. I started out the year the same way, too...staying late to grade papers so I wouldn't have to take them home. That didn't last long! Have a happy Thanksgiving!