All day today, I felt pulled.
My plan period, 1st hour, was unproductive.
My 2nd hour Newspaper class–when I usually sit at my desk and read draft after draft of stories–had me on my feet for 45 solid minutes. Camera check-out. Helping with PhotoShop (which I’m not good at), then helping with Illustrator (which I’m worse at). Looking up student schedules for interviews. Answering questions.
And every hour, it just seemed to get worse. At lunch I was trying to tell a story to my friends and I couldn’t order my sentences in a way that created anything resembling humorous impact.
By the end of 7th hour, as I walked down to the mandatory end-of-day study hall, knowing a student would be coming to me for help with an essay, I thought to myself: I just need five minutes. Five minutes to tidy my desk, or read something I want to, or talk to a colleague. I need five minutes before talking to any students.
I took some deep breaths, worked with the student, then stared blankly at my computer screen until the school day was over.
I drove home, feeling pretty sorry for myself. I’m tired, I’m overwhelmed. I feel ineffective in my classroom. So I medicated with some leftover Indian food and some DVR-ed shows, and then the text arrived, and Twitter exploded with news of Steve Jobs’ death.
Like millions of others, I never knew him, but his life impacted so many. And I’m sure he had frustrating days, but he didn’t get his name on 313 patents by medicating with Indian food and last night’s Daily Show. He impacted so many lives through work and hope, by refusing to give up.
So I’m taking another deep breath, prioritizing my to-do list, and figuring out how I can best impact my students’ lives. How I can help them be better writers. Better people.
David Carr of the New York Times tweeted this eloquent summation: “Jobs’ legacy winks light from every shiny wonder he put in out eager hands.”