Back to the Grind

Hello friends,

Apologies for the silence. It’s been a busy week as I got “back to the grind” of work. I’m an educator, and school officially started (with students) on Wednesday. This week has had a lot going on, and it feels like I haven’t stopped. Because it’s the first week, it was important to me to get to school early in order to feel as though I was organized for the day ahead (which changed according to what worked with students, because the first few days are rather free of routine). While next week begins the first FULL week of work, I’m excited to get back to a classroom schedule that is organized and efficient. This week was about adapting and altering accordingly. Next week won’t require such early wake-up times and will have far less chaos, I’m sure. (I take that back; we are starting rotary for the first time next week.)

As I’ve said before, I value my job and I honour my role as an educator, especially for a grade 7/8 Gifted class, where minds are being molded for adulthood, and characteristics that will develop and stick with a person through majority of their years are being formed. It’s an exhausting job mentally, spiritually, and by proxy of the other two, also physically, but it’s immensely rewarding. I know I’m good (re: great) at what I do, and I know I do things in a unique way that makes the learning environment exciting for students, and helps develop their independence, as it’s a lot of individually lead learning (I’m not standing at the front of a room, dictating what we will do). It sounds like it’s less work for me, but it’s actually more, because it means I have to develop activities that are enticing and make the students excited to proceed with assignments and the like. But I’m not complaining!

I’m lucky to have a job that starts at 8:40am only twenty minutes from my home and has me home by four, leaving an entire evening free. And I’m lucky that I have a job that is different every day, because I get bored so very easily. And despite my restful days being eliminated, I do like routine. Routine makes me feel as though I am accomplishing something of importance, and I like feeling “needed” or as though my life has meaning, through this routine. But I absolutely detest, with every fiber of my being, COMMUTING, in particular, driving myself to and from work.

Those moments are wasted moments. My drive is mindless, it’s monotonous, and by the end of the day, it can sometimes be an hour or more that’s wasted through stupid driving (if there is traffic). The drive to and from work is, without question, the worst part of my workday. I imagine the joy of sitting on a metro and being able to read to and from work (so long as a Parisian metro strike isn’t happening … because we all know how common those can be!).

But I found an image that really describes the ideal life I’d want to live:

Again – don’t get me wrong – I love my job! But it’s still an obligation. I try and turn certain days and moments into opportunities and not just obligations, but it’s still something that pays my bills and helps me live. And on stressful days, or bad days, or days where I didn’t get any sleep the night before, or icy cold winter days, or full moon days, it can feel more like an obligation than an opportunity. Would I do this job for free? Yeah, because it’s fun and I love it, but not five days a week. It’s at the five days a week point where it becomes an obligation, I believe.

Sweden just made maximum 30 hour work weeks, and I think that’s absolutely brilliant. I wish the Western mindset wasn’t, GO GO GO, WORK WORK WORK, YOU’RE OF NO VALUE WITHOUT A CAREER. When you meet people for the first time here, they don’t ask about your interests or your passions, they ask, “What do you do for a living?” In Paris, that’s a faux pas. And that’s the way it should be. Our lives shouldn’t be defined by how we make money to survive, and where we spend those 40+ hours a week.

I was always one of those kids who tried a bunch of different passions until she found one that fit. And as an adult, I still invest and apply and participate in a million different things (you could say I have one career – teaching – and 4 jobs right now – Feminist Apparel Rep, play writing, novelist, and another opportunity that I can’t speak to). Keeping busy is how I like it. It would be fun if I could invest time in all of these passions as paying jobs, ones I could survive on, each once a week from Mon-Friday! One can dream.

Imagine if being a dreamer was a paying job? I’d be fabulously wealthy right now.



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