I Have a Work Conference

I leave tomorrow morning for a work conference. It is a really great conference and I am very fortunate to be able to attend. I will get to attend workshops designed specifically to help my teaching, in units that I get to pick and choose. Brainstorm crazy new ideas. Discuss new plays. I will get to network with other teachers who teach the same subjects as me, talk about problems that we all have, how they solve them, and more. Share and compare lesson plans. Learn from other professionals in my content area.

This is so helpful for theatre teachers, because most school trainings focus on core classes or standardized testing.

Furthermore, school trainings often put you with your department. This makes sense for most subjects – all sciences, all English, etc. Fine Arts all get put together. Which fits, because we are all extra-curricular as well as in-school. We are all “electives” with possibilities of diploma endorsements. But useless when it comes to meetings about “how can we raise our standardized testing scores in your subject?”

Offer a test in the arts?

Or… stop standardized testing altogether?

Show that a well-rounded student is more than fill-in-the-blanks?

Whatever. This post isn’t me complaining about the idiocy that is standardized testing.

(I will rant about that some other time, I am sure. Because, trust me, it is terrible.)

This post is about me leaving my family for 4 days.

I leave tomorrow and will return late Sunday night.

This isn’t the first time I have been away from my baby. Last November, I attended a conference with my students that had me away from home for 5 days, 4 nights. But I was so busy chaperoning 20 teenagers the entire time. My husband joked that I was getting to go on vacation due to the fancy hotel we were at.

Being responsible for those kids 24 hours a day was most definitely not a vacation.

I wasn’t teaching delinquents or anything, but one student almost got kicked out of the conventions for his irresponsibility. I had to do a bunch of stuff to prevent having to have his parents drive out to pick him up. I had a couple of students who got quite sick that I had to play “nurse” and take care of them. I had students who accidentally locked themselves out of their hotel rooms after midnight. Students who lost their phones and we had to track them down. Students who were nervous messes due to auditions and scholarship panels. Students who hurt themselves. Students who needed food.

And I was the adult in charge of them for 24 hours a day.

So, no. Definitely not a vacation.

Honestly, I hate that trip. I don’t get paid to do this trip. In fact, I have to spend money. But I suck it up because it is an amazing opportunity for my students. My misery for 5 days versus several of them getting scholarships or being able to audition for colleges that they normally wouldn’t have or take classes on specialty topics they wouldn’t normally get? Yeah.

Suck. It. Up.

The trip is for them. The students don’t realize how hard that trip is for teachers, so they aren’t appreciative, either. So you are making this big sacrifice for them and they just expect more and more from you.

That trip kept me so busy. Of course I missed my baby (and my husband). But I was so busy running around after those 20 teenagers, that those moments were often few and far between simply due to how busy I was.

One of the nights was actually really rough, though. I had been taking care of an especially sick student and spoke with his mom on the phone, who thanked me for “mothering him” while she couldn’t. Once he was asleep and I was back in my room, I missed my baby HARD. I had spent so long with the sick student that I had missed our family FaceTime since it was past bedtime. My husband had texted me pictures, but it wasn’t the same.

I cried a lot. Like, hyperventilating a lot.

This conference is just for theatre teachers.

I will not be responsible for ANY students.

It will be harder to “forget” that I miss my baby.

Please note: this is not me being concerned that my husband can’t handle it without me. He is an amazing dad. He is wrapped around her tiny little finger. They will be fine.

This is me thinking that I will not be fine without them.

More time to be present in my “alone-ness”.

On top of that, we are forecast to have a pretty big tropical storm/possible hurricane coming that should hit this weekend. The worst time is looking to be when I have to drive back home.

First of all, I hate driving in the rain. It makes me uneasy.

Secondly, I will be driving in an area that I am not familiar with.

Third, the other teachers will also be driving in an area they aren’t familiar with.

So, everybody will be driving in an area they don’t know in conditions that aren’t ideal.

Oh. And my biggest fear is drowning, so hurricanes tend to really trigger me. The amount of panic attacks I had during Harvey last year once the water started coming in… NO THANK YOU.

What if I can’t drive home due to the weather and I have to stay longer?

Or… what if I don’t make it?

I have debated cancelling. I can’t get my money back, but I can cancel and stay home.

But I really need this networking. I really need these workshops, since I will be moving to a grade level that I do not have a lot of experience with. I need this help.

I just wish that it was closer to home so I could just drive there each day. See my baby at night, sleep in my own bed.

Not be away from home entirely.

Not be away from home – alone – entirely.

So, yes. I am looking forward to these workshops. But not the conference in its entirety.

On the plus, I just figured out that I can access my DVR on my laptop, though. So I am going to try to watch “Sesame Street” with my baby on FaceTime in the evening before she goes to bed. That way, I feel like I am WITH her. I think that will help a lot.

We are celebrating Father’s Day tomorrow, since I won’t be home for it on Sunday. I got my husband and daughter a matching shirt/onsie set that says Daddy/Daddy’s Girl. I can’t wait for him to get to daddy/daughter match.

I just wish I could bring them with me. For my own sake.




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