Past and Future Selves

December 1, 2013

I think a lot about change. All the time. How it’s constant, and how that makes it such a difficult thing to measure. Because yes, change is constant, but it’s not like a constant in a math problem. It’s more slippery than that. It has much more in common with an unknown. I guess, really, I think about calculus all the fucking time.

Today, I was annoyed with my past self for procrastinating on grading papers. Most of this semester, I have been really good about keeping on top of grading so that I don’t have to get to it all on Sunday night. Since I teach twice on Monday, this has been nice. Past Lauren has been in the good graces of Future Lauren. With the 5-day weekend, and with the dread of having skimmed a few of the papers I needed to grade, knowing how terrible they were, I put off the grading. Future Lauren was quite displeased with Past Lauren when Present Lauren was tackling the massive pile of work. I know better than this for next semester, and how to spread out assignments a bit differently so they don’t all come due at awkward times. The second half of the syllabus for this class is brutal, and we’re not really supposed to tweak it too much because of the way the curriculum is set up, but wow do I know how to fix it next time. And also never to let the work pile up like that, because it made for a miserable day of grading, taking breaks until I no longer felt overwhelmed with disappointment, and then more grading. And then after all that, I still had one last lesson plan to sort out.

I complained a bit on social media, and a few teacher friends spoke up, which was actually quite helpful. Most of them have been teaching much longer than I have, and one of them told me that end of semester is either a time of excitement to be getting really awesome work, or a frustrating time of disappointment. And really, it’s both, with the edge going to the latter.

I was talking to someone the other day, who I hadn’t seen in awhile, and they said that from my posts it really seemed like I was taking to teaching quite well, that I seemed to really be enjoying myself. The truth is, I don’t love it. And I don’t want to continue doing this thing I don’t love. Or maybe, with more experience, my ideas about it will change. Right now, I am not sure. All I know is I want to do something else. I got my Masters degree with the intent to find more suitable employment, and I actually stumbled into something not terrible while still working on the degree, but I want more. I want to feel/be/do more to be more useful.

I have a few ideas about how I can begin to become more useful on a more personal level, with my writing. Hopefully, as I work on those projects, I will find my way to the thing I should be doing/ that thing where I am the most useful. I am not just hopeful about this, though. I am pretty fucking determined to make it happen. And I think my past and future selves will be much less at war with one another if my present self shapes up and does the work.

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