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How Fifteen Year Olds Helped My Writing Schedule


This is a real story about something that happened to me last week. Let me preface it with a bit of background.

I am EXPECTING this year to be successful in many areas.  One of those areas is my writing career. I took the time on January 1 to make a very detailed and specific daily schedule for myself in hopes of increasing my productivity.

And then I started watching a TV marathon…

Argh! I’ve threatened more than once to unplug the darn thing (and probably should). Instead of beating myself up too much, I determined to move forward, forgetting the week of wasted evenings.

Except, the struggle to get up at the appointed time is real! Strike two!

As my return to work as a secondary school teacher approaches, a new solution presented itself. Part of the preparation involves what’s called ‘work hardening’ – going in on a voluntary basis for short stints to acclimate myself back into the environment.

I went in for eighty minutes and, well… it was terrible! (See the picture at the top? It wasn’t like that…)

Last year’s Grade 9s hadn’t really matured that much… The crashing of lockers during break. The raging teenage hormones. The overall chaos! I’m experiencing tightness in my chest and shortness of breath just thinking about it!

When I go back in February, I will be returning on a half time basis. I can choose which two of my regular four classes I want to teach.  Originally it made sense to me to go in during the afternoons. The detailed schedule I’d worked out for myself in paragraph two had me up early to get some writing done and then off to school after lunch. But that meant taking on English 9 followed by a mixed group of Drama students.  After that first experience, it occurred to me that Grade 9 might not be the best option when I had the choice of a much more mature group of English 12 students first thing in the morning. The only problem with that scenario is, I really want to take the D block Drama class, but that would leave several hours in between teaching assignments.

Then it hit me. If I went in first thing in the morning to teach English 12, I would have three and a half glorious hours to do my writing before it was time to teach Drama. Not only would I avoid the Grade 9s (the Barenaked Ladies didn’t make a song about it for nothing… just sayin!) I would also be forced to get up early each day instead of frittering my time away. Perfect!

Funny how a possible negative can turn into something positive. Thanks to last year’s Grade 9s for helping me see the light!


  1. Bobbi says:

    Love this! How often is the solution jumping up and down, trying to get our attention, but we’re so busy staring at our feet we miss it? With this in mind, I will make a point of looking up and out to see what I can see.

    1. tracykrauss says:

      Exactly right, Bobbi!

  2. Marnie says:

    Oh, Tracy, you continue to inspire me.
    I make grand plans only to find fatigue does me in. “Know your limit, stay within it” is advertised for gambling, but applies to life ad well. Take care of yourself, friend.

    1. tracykrauss says:

      that is a great quote. I’m adding it to my ‘wall of quotes’ in front of my desk. 🙂

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