Return to Work

September 12, 2022 – I will have to admit, this should be the “back to school” blog post that I wrote mid-week (aka. A few days ago). Nope. I’m writing 3 minutes before it’s actually Monday and trying to catch up on all of the things that I imagined that I would be doing on the weekend but now I’m going to do an all-nighter (like I would normally do). I’m not sure why this is my tendency but this has been my way of being ever since I had to do “homework.” Returning back to work has been more difficult than I imagined. I’m not saying that it has been stressful, but I am trying to figure out how to balance work, life, and my joy. Think of a Venn diagram… all three overlap.

Last week was only an abridged version of a regular work week. I’m teaching 5 different classes this term. One graduate course, one undergraduate course, one year long course, one practicum course, and one graduate capstone course. It will be a busy term. I am also committed to writing and I have conference proposals due this month in addition to a couple of manuscripts to finalize for publication, a couple manuscripts to draft, a book review, and a professional conference to prepare for. OK. I will admit, after typing all of “my things to do,” I’m a little overwhelmed. That said, this is exactly where I want to be. This healthy list of things to do is my list.

What I mean is, I’m creating this work. I am learning how to become an academic with a full teaching load and no time committed to research. I have decided to keep to my current load of service and I am making an effort not to join anything else that could and would take any more of my time. I am happy with what I am contributing to my department, university, and the profession as 20% of my job. 80% is teaching. 0% is research, but I need to adjust my time so that it’s about 40% of my time. Huh. I’ve just realized that 40% is two days, which means my weekend. There is nothing like the writing process to help me think things through. This is a good awakening.

Thank goodness there is another week ahead of me. I will have to try again with a “real” work week. All classes are in session and I have to get my conference proposals in by the end of the month as well as my book review and maybe my 2 manuscripts. HOLY MOLY. I was so pooped after last week that I spent most of Saturday napping and Sunday doing errands. Those are good things as well, but I do need to find balance. What I do want to say is, I am happy to be a participant in orientation and I was so happy to meet some of the incoming students and reconnecting to ones returning. I taught 2 classes and had one meeting with grad student and loved it.

I have to say that my most favourite part of my work is TEACHING. If I look back at my career, I believe this has been always true. Sadly, I always focused on my deficits (much of what we were taught in school) and not on my strengths. Strangely from teaching teacher education, I am definitely switching gears and focused on my strength… aka. Teaching… with a mindset of learning… which will lend to my writing. I am finding mentors and I was so happy to engage in academic coaching in the summer. I am always learning and honestly, that is my happy place. I am a learner.

As I am prioritizing my work, why did I choose to return back to my blog versus the many other things I have to get done for tomorrow (aka. Today)? I love to blog. Writing helps me think (because writing is thinking). I love what I get to learn from the writing process and from my coaching… I just have to be OK with late nights. This is my TIGER TIME and I really enjoy working in the middle of the night with the TV on in the background and nothing else is up except for me and my brain. This is my preference and I figure that maybe part of my brain is asleep so I can think… There is no science behind that, but sometimes I feel that way when I’m productive at night.

I am super stoked to be back at school and I am very excited for what the year can bring. I am building new habits, creating clear boundaries, and critically assessing why I feel the way I do sometimes and finding how to focus my energy in good ways. I think I was enjoying my last weekend of REST and now I am going to venture into the new year figuring out how to use my time that is sustainable and productive. There is no separation between personal and professional. It’s just me. All is good.