A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sleep

For most people, falling asleep on the couch is just falling asleep on the couch. For me, falling asleep on the couch could be fatal. Worse, my failure to put on the Darth Vader mask, i.e., my bi-level sleep apnea machine, could lead to the embarrassment of cloudy judgment, slurred speech, or a slow death march toward professional ruin. When I awoke this morning to the sound of talk on the television about the possibility of Mark Cuban drafting Brittany Greiner to try out for the Dallas Mavericks basketball team on the television at 4:20 am, I was more than a little alarmed. Hopefully all the recent weight loss has mitigated my sleep apnea a little bit. Since today I need to be up in less than an hour, I made the decision to not go to bed, and instead blab to the world about my faux pas on my blog, since I might sleep through the alarm. Not good! Not good!

When I was younger, the last thing I thought about was the need to take care of my self physically. Thus, what in earlier times had been a good habit, a positive adaptation, extreme mental toughness, aped from bushido and Forrest Gump, became a professional liability. I had developed the habit of running my body and mind into the ground, which is what people evaluating me saw at the tail end of my year of torture, last April, and might partly explain why my end of student teaching reviews were at such opposite ends of the spectrum, and why at this stage I am still just a long-term sub. Eliot was right, "April is the cruelest month."

My old habits crept up on me yesterday, as I neglected to each lunch until after 3:00pm, after putting a Nutri-grain bar in my mouth I ran out the door to let Mabel outside to pee, because I had given every ounce of my energy to students throughout the day, leaving little fuel in the tank for myself but fumes. The brain didn't go to mush until I got pulled into a team meeting, for which I had been totally unaware, as I prepared to finally eat some lunch, only to find that I needed to wait just a little bit longer. Somehow, I managed to hold it together as I processed logistical details. Hopefully, didn't appear too discombobulated from low blood sugar. My need to prepare to avoid losing a student, cued up survival mode. "My little robot," developed from years upon years of habituation, took over, rescued me from the appearance of incompetence in my first team meeting with a group of women whom I had never met.

Dennis Waitley's description of the power of a person's subconscious robot, in the The Psychology of Winning, despite being a little dated, still holds true. It has taken 10 years and a full 10,000 hours to become "world class," to feel like I belong in the teaching profession, just like I read in This is Your Brain on Music, where the author cited evidence that a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice is needed to become a virtuoso. Finally, my little robot is "kicking in."

At the team meeting, I learned that I would not be subbing in the Art Room, as originally planned, but would instead be going on a field trip. Last night, after finally getting home after 6pm, because I needed to plan activities for 2nd period, which we will be holding before going on the field trip, and taking Mabel on a "long walkie walkie," instead of going directly to the gym I went to Staples. At Staples, I bought a battery backup as insurance so that my cell phone would not die, band aids, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and those printer cartridges I will be needing this weekend, provided I am able to access the share drive from home -- all on the credit card, of course! Then I went to Giant to buy luncheon meat and extra snacks, since we will be brown bagging it today. I made extra sandwiches last night, just in case students get a little hungry. Never did get to the gym!

Unlike the time I lost Alex at the Smithsonian long ago, today I won't lose anybody.