Monday, September 13, 2010


"Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." -Jerome K. Jerome, British Humor Writer

When the bell that releases the students for lunch rings at 10:45, I sigh with relief. For the next 33 minutes I can breathe deeply, sit quietly, and allow myself to process the events of the morning.

I pull up NPR's music site on my computer, and choose from whatever "First Listen" options strike my fancy. I have previously maxed out Pandora accounts listening to music at school, but alas, Pandora has been found to be offensive by the almighty internet protection software at my current school, causing me to be a bit more creative.

Next I venture to the teacher's lounge to retrieve my lunch from the refrigerator. The teacher's lounge is spacious with several four-person tables and multiple refrigerators and microwaves, but I rarely stay for lunch. What do I have against this hideout? It has zero windows. I may only have two in my classroom, but if the sun is shining (as it was this morning) I can't bare to sit in the cave that is the teacher's lounge if I could sit at my desk with the quiet stream of music, accompanied only by a freshly ripened autumn pear.

When I finish my food I usually turn to grading: essays, worksheets, posting scores online. I had a student walk in this morning and express to me in dismay that her make-up work wasn't posted online to her grade. "Wait," I said while I processed what she said, "You mean the make-up work you submitted yesterday afternoon?"


"Well, you need to give me at least 24 hours to grade the work, and then post it online. It doesn't magically appear on there once you turn it in. I actually have to enter the grades." She looked at me like she honestly hadn't thought about it that way before.

Usually around 11:12 I look at the clock and sigh, acknowledging that the break is coming to an end. I reevaluate my plans for the afternoon classes, and usually start to consider the state of my plans for the following day and week. As wonderful as the break is, the quiet and calm of my lunch break is about the only such time in my day. I often feel like I am getting away with something, stealing this time and keeping it for myself feels like a crime. Shouldn't I be socializing? Planning? Doing something that is a little less enjoyable?

When I was unemployed this summer, the time of quiet to read and reflect was abundant. It sat heavy on my mind as a glaring reminder of my state of being: u-n-e-m-p-l-o-y-e-d

Now? I relish these moments almost as much as my juicy, ripe pear.

After all, the moments are fleeting.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog my guilty pleasure; I love that you write about quiet experiences that I share because it means that I am free to write about obnoxious, silly things.

    I absolutely agree with you on the grade posting issue - it's as if they assume that because they turned it in, it gets an automatic perfect score and shouldn't be read and evaluated on its quality and worth.

    Online grade posting is, I strongly assert, the double edged sword of technology-in-education.

    Did you listen to the Dolly Parton interview from the archives from country music week on Fresh Air? I heart her.

    And you!