I often joke with my fellow ASCs and other teachers in my office about how I hate sleep. Thinking back to Riley’s most recent post, I can remember those times in high school and college when I was overwhelmed by a combination of academic work and extra-curriculars. Those days still come during our lives as ASCs. Two nights sleeping on a couch at Regis Jesuit High School (Denver, CO) (with a third in the near future) in order to supervise students come to mind as a fitting example. Sleep has become a quite common joke, and a common goal that can be enjoyed by (or commiserated with) those of us fortunate enough to not have to worry about necessities. Yet I have always said that I hate sleeping, and the reason I give is usually the same: “I could be doing something instead.”
Of course, it would be scientifically inaccurate to say I’m not doing anything when I sleep and medically inaccurate to say sleep is not a necessity itself. But that desire to always be engaged with something, to always be occupied, surround my sleep issues. There is always something to do instead: some skill I could be improving, some information I could be gathering, some work I could be finishing. The common problem is not that I have no time to myself, or that I cannot keep my eyes open during the day, or that I am being overworked. The problem is simply that there will never be enough time to do everything.
My class has been working through Romeo and Juliet together. The challenge I face in class every day is choosing what we are going to spend our time on. If we spend our time focusing on whether they think Romeo is truly in love, we can’t talk about Mercutio’s death. If we spend our time talking about the Nurse’s fears for Juliet, we can’t talk about her limited choices as a young woman in this situation. When I find time to teach something, it inevitably means we must omit something else. I expect this is a reality that most new teachers face, but it feels particularly salient as an ASC. Not only am I still figuring out what to prioritize in lessons, but I have to figure out what impressions and ideas I will leave with my students when the year is over. But finding time to check in with my students means there may be some of Romeo and Juliet that gets left out.
As I turn these decisions over in my head and the second semester moves along, my new role as volleyball coach begins. It’s too early for practices to happen, but I was able to organize and watch an open gym the other day. I watched two dozen boys, most of whom didn’t know each other, play with each other without any of my input. I watched experienced players, whether they were freshmen or seniors, guide less experienced players, again whether they were freshmen or seniors. I couldn’t do any coaching, and I was thankful to have the time to watch them enjoy the sport that has marked so much of my life. I may not get any more sleep once the season begins, but it will be worth finding the time to just be present.