Sunday, September 21, 2014

Life out of Balance

Yin Yang Koi by Yurayah
Te@chThought poses this question for today's blog challenge: "Do you have other hobbies/interests that you bring into your classroom teaching? Explain."

This question makes me wonder where I am on the spectrum between "fully integrated" and "completely-out-of-balance." By fully integrated, I mean that my professional life and outside lives are seamless. Such integration means my interests and passions inside and outside classroom are mutually constitutive. Think "yin/yang". "Completely-out-of-balance" refers to living a life where teaching has become my whole life, such a big priority that I don't have an "outside life" to either bring into class, or not enough to sustain an identity that isn't directly related to teaching. 

Perhaps that's one of the perks/disadvantages of the profession. i can't listen to a song, watch a movie, or read a book without making some sort connection to a current lesson or a future unit. I can't not look at social media without mulling over how I can leverage what I'm seeing or doing applies to teaching. 

And because of the flexibility I have as a college instructor, I constantly modify and adapt lessons to my own interests, which largely have to do with what I studied in graduate school: minority discourse, American literature, multicultural literature, and social justice. Given my interests and my networks of "informants,"  not a day goes by without me seeing or reading something that I can't bring to the class. Indeed, I believe I have an obligation to keep making the case that the subjects we study in class are directly related to the world around us. So I am constantly sharing what I find in my daily gleanings of news and current events. 

Rereading what I've written, I must admit I currently lean toward the "out of balance" side of the scale. I do like that my "outside life" contributes greatly to my professional life, and vice versa. That's great. At the same time, I see that there's embarrassingly little I do outside of work for myself. And that's dangerous. I can't depend on work to fulfill all my needs. Not to mention the potential damage I do to my relationship with my husband. 

I need to commit to return to  activities and hobbies that give me joy, that meet other needs, needs that may be indirectly beneficial to my career, but not wholly chosen for their utility for work. Exercise was a biggie. Did that a lot last year. Reading science fiction - the "junkier" the better!  And I miss reading comic books, big time. Recommit to finishing Dexter, American Horror Story: Asylum,  and The Walking Dead episodes.Perhaps getting back into yoga. Yeah. There's a lot out there for me to do. I just need to make the commitment.