The White Spaces


Google calender white spaceI had to go all the way to July to find more than one day in a row where nothing is planned. No to do’s. No appointments. No practices or games. Nothing school related. No work of note.

Of course, July is still empty only because it’s just far enough in the future, and clear of the school year, to be empty.

White space.

Those days on the calendar that you don’t owe anyone, and no one and nothing has yet laid claim to, are the white spaces in our lives. Down time.

I was talking yesterday with my daughter’s school vice principal and his wife. Ran into them at the trade show in town.

Trade show is a big deal. I generally only go to catch up with my government representatives. The MP. The MLA. But it’s a chance to run into all sorts of people. The ones you only see at the Canada Day Parade and picnic or the Farmer’s Market.

I bring up my conversation with VP because it wandered into “going back to work” territory. Something I have been thinking about now that the wee daughter is not wee anymore.

And the thing that runs through my mind is – where would I fit work in?

There is very little white space in my life. Not enough to slip in a full-time job at any rate.

The opportunity I was speaking to the VP about was a part-time position in the school library. Which he’s already filled. But he was curious if I was going back to teaching now that not so wee kid is nearly in high school.

That is the time that SAHM’s think about, or do, head back out into the workplace after all.

I have thought about it.

There is a two-year degree/accreditation  program at the University of Alberta for people who already hold degrees and would like to work with indigenous schools and students that looks interesting. Education is still a passion for me whether I like the box public education is still uncomfortably crammed into or not.

And I am writing again. Seriously tempted to try my hand out more substantive blogging. Politics. Social commentary.

Shouldn’t forget politics beyond the commentary either. Working in politics tempts me mightily. Behind the scenes, of course, but I would be good at it, I think.

But where to find the serious time for such things?

White space is still hard to come by, and I don’t mean the few hours every day between this obligation and that errand or chore.

Of course, the fact that I can even entertain thoughts like white space and how to acquire more of it so I can pursue a career choice for passion rather than necessities sake speaks to an enormous amount of privilege. Not a place I ever dreamed I would be at this point in my life. Or ever really. Yet here I am.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that time management is a truly personal thing. The less you have to self-direct, the more dissatisfied you are likely to be generally. However, having too much open-ended time rarely leads to anything productive.

I can’t say I have any concrete plans at the moment. I am still living from one open day in the calendar to the next and letting that be enough direction for right now. That itself is a lesson. In patience and letting go. I’m grateful for that.

But it is time to plan for the future, or near time anyway. Do something with the white spaces.

First Day of the 2007/2008 School Year


Today is the first day of the school year back in Des Moines. Well, it is for the staff anyway. The majority of teachers reported back at 8 AM CST. There will be meetings. Some of interest but most are a waste of everyone’s time and patience. Cleaning and organizing and catching up with coworkers that you likely haven’t seen since the last day of school in June. Lesson plans need to be made and class lists beg for perusal. I would have had my room and lessons ready to go by today. It was my habit to spend several hours a morning getting ready starting at the first of the month. I didn’t like the rushed feeling that only three days of preparation gave me. There really are few things more conducive to productivity than an empty classroom and a near empty building.

I think it was harder a few weeks ago than it is today, wrapping my mind around the idea that I will not be teaching this year. That, in all likelihood, I will never teach again. Though education is a subject that is near to my heart and I can be very passionate about, it is no longer where my heart lies. I had a supervisor who would often remark that it takes less than a whole day to forget what it is like to be a classroom teacher. Once you have left the building, you have truly left. Like Elvis. I suppose I will see now how true that is.

Twenty years. Is it possible I spent that much of my life with other people’s children? Where has that 23 year old gone? She really believed that she was making a difference. Interesting that I don’t miss her.

Happy first day back to my friends and coworkers in the Des Moines Public Schools! Go get ‘em!