It feels as if every single moment of my day seems to be filled by something. That something is usually reading chapters or articles, writing papers, or lesson planning. But I can't stress enough how important everything else between my work is. For me, exercise, going out on Main St (in Manayunk. I'll get into where I live and my long commute later) to shop and snack, delicious food, fine (and not so fine) wine, quality time with my pup and phone calls and video chats with my long term, long distance partner are what make up my self care time. Sometimes my peers wonder how I'm able to get so ahead on my work and still have time to grab a drink, buy a super cute dress or take a hike with my chihuahua, and the answer may seem a bit neurotic. I schedule almost every moment of my day, for almost every day of the week. And there is seriously nothing that makes me feel better than crossing things off my ever growing "To Do" list.
Here's a little bit of what my day-to-day schedule is for this semester:
Sunday: I try to leave the least amount of homework to do on Sunday. I like to relax and mentally prep myself for the week. This is when I usually do something good for myself, whether that be mental or physical. Sometimes I'll go for a long walk with my pup, sometimes I'll treat myself to something I want, like some new clothes or even something a simple as a soft pretzel. I meal prep on Sundays, as well. Through bulk cooking, I make my lunch for the week and make omelette muffins so I breakfast every morning. This helps me have less to worry about, keeps me from spending money unnecessarily and allows me to make healthy choices! I also use Sunday to look at my syllabuses and my work for the upcoming week and plan my days accordingly! I even write "plan for next week" in my planner, just so I have one more thing to cross off.
Monday: I student teach in the morning. On a good morning (which honestly, I have few of), I wake up by 6:15 and usually leave my apartment around 7:10am. It takes me about 25-30 minutes to get to my school placement, which is a neighborhood high school where I co-teach freshmen English. This is my favorite time of the day. I stay for varying amounts of time. Sometimes I leave by noon, but if I have the free time, I'll stay until 1 pm to help my teacher with grading, discuss our students and their needs and lesson plan. During the afternoon, I have no class! Woo! This leaves my whole afternoon and evening free to get work done. I also try to go for a run in between my work.
Tuesday: Tuesdays and Wednesdays take a lot out of me. I student teach, similar hours to Monday. But I have a class on literature for children and adolescents at Penn at 2pm. I usually have to read a YA book a week for this class, and it's been pretty awesome. Then at 4:30pm, I have my field placement class, where we discuss our student teaching, learn how to improve and occasionally have guest speakers that are supposed to aid and supplement our learning and teaching. This goes until 6:30- 7pm. This is one of those classes we have a snack system for- we all take turns bringing in snacks to share with the class. Now, I live all the way out in Manayunk (which is almost not even Philly anymore); it's about a 45 minute public transportation commute. So I typically don't get home until 7:30- 8pm on Tuesdays. As crazy as the commute seems, I'm careful to use that time to do readings for my class, which is super helpful. I get a lot done on the bus!
Wednesday: Student teaching in the AM. Then I have a course on adolescent development, which I greatly look forward to because we not only talk about our work with our students, but our own adolescence. Then at 4:30pm, I have my favorite class, English Methods. We talk about books, reading, writing and how we can help our students learn the skills they need to be successful English students. My professor is hilarious, caring and a wealth of knowledge. We have amazing discussions and the workload for this class is extremely manageable. We're also taking turns creating mini lessons, teaching them to our peers, and learning from the critiques that follow. This class always ends around 7, and I'm home by 8pm. Again, I'm sure to be intentional about how I use my time during my commute.
Thursday: Student teaching in the AM, and no class in the afternoon! Woo! Again, this is a great time for me to get work done, particularly lesson planning. I try to get a run in on these days, as well!
Friday: No student teaching :( But we spend a lot of Fridays visiting and taking tours of schools around Philadelphia. Next week, I'll post some pictures of a really interesting experience we had today! I also have a class, every other Friday, on teaching diverse learners, where we learn about how to best serve our ELL (English Language Learners) and our students with disabilities. I usually end my Fridays with chihuahua snuggles, wine and getting ahead on my work.
Saturday: I sleep in. I sleep for as long as my body needs. I hardly ever set an alarm on Saturdays. I make myself a bomb breakfast. I take my dog for a long walk. I usually video chat with my boyfriend on Saturdays. Sometimes I have plans with friends, or with my brother and his wife who live down the street. I try to use my day efficiently and get a good amount of work done, but I don't overwhelm myself.
Most of the time, I feel a bit overwhelmed. But once I get the wonderful chance to cross everything off and I'm left with the time I want and need to take care of myself, an incredible sense of pride comes over me. Time management was never my strength growing up, so the fact that I'm becoming extremely efficent and am using every moment intentionally is a big deal for me. So I let myself be proud. Always let yourself be proud! To prove to you that my life doesn't just consist of locking myself in my studio apartment (I don't think I've mentioned I live alone with my dog, Poppy), here are some photos of a recent hike I took through Forbidden Drive (so beautiful. If you're worried about being too congested in the city- I promise there's nature so close by! Look into the Wissahickon Valley Park and Fairmount Park.)
Stay tuned for more adventures!