As I mentioned, I’ve moved past the (f)Unemployment phase – at least for now – and am working at a charter school in Boulder through the end of the school year. While it isn’t the *ideal* job in some ways, in other ways, I was very lucky. It was a maternity leave position that was posted in January, I interviewed for it, and then started in March. It’s been an interesting experience. First of all, working as a sub is a challenge, even as a long-term sub, and coming in at the middle (or almost end) of the year compounds that. However, it was also a good transition for me – I met with the teacher who was leaving multiple times to learn about the students and the curriculum and was able to sit in on her classes for a few days. Also, while I am *just a sub*, the school community (teachers and administrators) have given me a nice welcome, and although I don’t feel 100% a part of the community, I feel fortunate to be as integrated as I am.
The challenge part has come in the form of teaching a different grade level – Middle School! Whoa, 6th graders are so different, and I am learning a TON about teaching a different level, but I still have much to learn. It’s an adjustment for me, and it’s probably hard for the kiddos, and I continue to adjust my expectations about what they can do and how they learn. Some of the students are super motivated and mature, and others… are not. This experience did, I think, help me land a 2016-2017 position at another school – so, for the moment, I have moved to the middle school landscape. A part of me knows that I would like to teach high school long-term, but for now, I’m looking at middle school as a new experience and as a way to become a better teacher. How is that for framing things in a positive spin?
So, what does all this have to do with the theme of focus? Well, it seems that after January and February, I finally brought some focus and schedule to my life which felt great. This theme extended past the job/employment front to TRAINING! Yes, I used to do things like triathlon, way back in 2015, and I returned to the training wagon. I hoped that March would be THE RETURN, that I would hit my stride and be fully committed to training. While I had some good weeks (or one good week):
I also had a few weeks that were disasters:
I think I skied quite a bit that weekend, and I was in a total funk mentally and emotionally.
It’s funny, I thought that not having as much responsibility job-wise, I would dive right into triathlon training with vigor! and determination! And other great aspirations! Not so. I discovered, not so surprisingly, that triathlon is a great complement to my life, but when other parts of my life are out-of-whack, then my training suffers – or just goes right out the window. I just can’t focus on it. At a certain point, during one of my many cry sessions with Michael (that man deserves a medal for putting up with me this past month), I talked about how I should just quit training altogether. He became rather alarmed (probably thinking that THAT would be a total disaster) and insisted that no, I really needed this. When I was really down, I kept thinking: “I’m not doing anything, I’m not in shape, I probably won’t finish any race this spring/summer, I should just quit because I’m wasting my time and Beth’s time”. This thought made me feel about 100 times better. Not.
The other not-so-surprising thing happened when I locked in next year’s teaching position. I went from down-in-the-dumps and questioning everything and completely scattered to a much more positive and *settled* individual. Things still aren’t perfect (again, middle school Spanish is not my ‘ideal’), but I’m excited to be a part of a great school community and that has stabilized my free-fall.
I’m feeling a renewed commitment to training, and, looking back on recent run and bike sessions, I don’t think that I should totally write off the season at this point. I know that I’m not where I was last year, but I shouldn’t be – I had a tremendous off-season that I enjoyed. However, there are positive signs – riding the bike isn’t nearly as painful as it was when I returned to the saddle in February (and I could barely stay on the tri bike! No joke). March has been a bit inconsistent for riding outside (springtime in Colorado = crazy weather!), but I can’t complain about the rides I’ve been able to put in. And I don’t feel very fast on the run, but I think that the fitness base is there. Swimming is my bete noire at this point – I have a terrible attitude and haven’t really committed to it, but I still have 2.5 months to get to where I need to be. And I will give myself points for swimming outside this past week while it SNOWED ON ME. That’s a first.
So, I’m finding that focus – it’s taken some time, and there is much improvement that I can and need to make, but I don’t feel like throwing a pity party for myself about my fitness or my life in general. This afternoon, I’m heading out for a longish bike ride, and this is after skiing yesterday morning followed up by a long run in the afternoon. My legs feel trashed but in a good way. Maybe this is progress?