An Explanation for my Potential Absence

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Dear friends and family,

Hello. it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to wait a little bit longer to meet.

I hope that comes across as a joke, because I hope that if you care enough to be reading this, then you and I have seen each other recently. I hope that you’ve been one of the people I’ve been so careful to maintain a relationship with through the craziness since May, 2015.

Let’s briefly, BRIEFLY recap. I graduated university, disappeared for half of the summer to travel around Europe, then another couple of weekends disappearing into the sand and water and antics with my entire family. Then, I came home, and my teaching program began. I’ve now completed 4/12 months, but the true test is just about to begin.

I was warned, before this program began, that I would lose a lot of the balance in my life. That hours would be spent, daily, on bettering my game. But I chose not to believe that, because I knew how good I was at maintaining balance. After all, I’d worked 4 jobs while taking 5 classes and volunteering, and still managed to see my friends as often as anyone else (and sometimes more). “I’ll be able to balance this too,” I promised myself.

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And then, the program actually began, and I fell in love with this new aspect of my life. From 530am – 11pm, I was consumed by everything PDP related: reflections, unit plans, teaching resources, extra-curricular seminars and workshops and volunteer opportunities, and yes, definitely, all my new friends. And I got what people meant. It wasn’t necessarily that I would be bogged down with so much work I could barely breathe – it was that I would love this so much, that I’d want to revolve my life around it as much as possible. So while I did my very best to see my friends (and rarely, if at all, turned down a social invitation), I initiated plans a whole lot less. If I had the choice, I planned at the library instead of arranging a lunch with my girlfriends. When I found myself with a free day, I quickly filled it with conversations about strategies, or sought out my module-mates to find out where they were planning for the day, and I joined them. And god, are my units ever better because of that. Still, though… I felt overall proud of how I’d managed to continue the balance so far.

I have a feeling, however, that this may all be about to change. And this is an explanation, in advance, for why I might have to say no. For why I might not be able to check in with my “good morning!” texts or my “what’s up?” late Sunday afternoon phone calls. Here’s why I might be seeing a lot fewer movies with you, or why I might need to turn down that family dinner, or might even say no to a house party. From January 20th – April 8th, I will be in my long practicum: teaching a grade 5 classroom full time, implementing all of my own lessons and activities, assessing and marking everything, as well as being observed, reflecting on observations, volunteering for extra-curriculars, meeting with my Professional Learning Groups on a weekly basis for our inquiry projects, and likely re-evaluating plans or marking math homework on weekends with my module-mates.

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I might cancel a tutoring session with little notice. I might not be able to help you book a flight to Vegas with your boyfriend. I might be seriously sacrificing my bank account (as tutoring and travel agent-ing (it’s a word) are my only sources of revenue, currently) to set myself up as best as I can for my future as an educator. And that has to take priority. And while I hope that I can maintain the same balance as I have for the last 4 months… I would never forgive myself if I compromised my recommendation letter for the sake of a movie night.

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I’m about to disappear into a bubble of PDP until April 8th.  With one small exception, that I might as well talk about because, as quiet as I’ve tried to be about it until I’m certain, one phone call last week moved everything into the fast lane – in March, I’m being flown to Leeds, England, to interview for a teaching position. And I’m thrilled and terrified to make that decision at the same time – not to mention that, in addition to everything I’ve mentioned above, I need to prepare 1-3 lessons to teach based around the UK curriculum.

Am I crazy? Probably. Am I going to do my absolute best to continue being the best friend I know how to be? Absolutely. But I need a favour. I need you to love me, and forgive me, when I mess up, as I know I’m going to. I’m going to double book, try and make it work and be too exhausted to fix anything. I’m going to forget that I said I’d call you back, and I’m going to be foggy on the details of that date you went on with that boy that you told me about when we went for coffee in November. But I know that I have the most amazing friends and family anyone could ask for – and it sounds sappy, but… it’s true. I’ve seen so many of you follow your paths to Australia, or England, or Thailand, or Northern BC. I’ve seen you disappear into relationships or school or careers for a bit, because that’s what you needed to do… and you came back. And now it’s my turn to do that.

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So please know I love you. Please know that I’ve never felt more sure of anything in my life. Please know that so far, this program is going incredibly well for me, and I intend to kill the next 12 weeks, which is why I’m going to need to live around people who are breathing the same air, feeling the same pressure, and answering the same questions. Please know that no, I probably didn’t watch the Bachelor in live time, but I will definitely be caught up in a few days so be patient and don’t tell me who Ben kissed in the ocean.  Please know that my intentions are true, and please know that if I am spending time with you, you’re special to me, but if I’m not, you’re still special to me. And please know that at the end of April, I’ll be back, mentally and physically.

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