Good morning Sally. You get a lot done in your alone time! Your post really captures the tension between satisfaction of being useful to others and useful to yourself and your own agenda. I would like to hear a little more about your alone time that is not work-related :) What do you do just for you?
1. March 19th I am going to TCRWP Saturday Reunions (and have attended every Oct and March Reunion since I discovered TCRWP in 2009), not because it is work-related (which one could say it is) but because I love learning from really bright people and that day, a plethora of smart people are gathered and they just happen to be speaking about best practices in literacy.
2. This Sunday I am meeting a colleague for brunch and we will talk about our work and I do this for me because it gives me positive energy.
3. All summer long, I drove to meet 3 other ladies (one of them is the author of the comment above!) at a Starbucks and we wrote and shared and I enjoyed working on my writing life in the company of others who enjoy writing, too. I did this for me and not because I am a teacher of writing workshop.
4. I participate in twitter chats related to literacy because I get energy from the ideas of other bright educators.
5. I blog (and often it is about my work) but I blog because it is fun and I figure things out as I write.
6. I read the latest literacy-related resources, not just because of my job, but because I get lots of energy from planning the best for those students who I am teaching.
7. I read LOTS of children's literature because I have fun discussing books with young kids (which is one of the perks of my job!).
As I started this list, I wondered how long it would become. I'm going to stop at Lucky #7
To be honest, I do spend LOTS of my time doing what others see as work-related things. But I am OK with this because I don't think of my work as just a paycheck. I don't think of my work as something I only do from 9-5pm. I am a teacher and it is my career. I enjoy it and want to keep doing things to make me better at it. And yes, at times it exhausts me. But I can't think of rewarding work that wouldn't exhaust me. So I am glad this is how I choose to spend my time - some of it alone, some in the company of bright, literacy-minded people - doing these seven things just for me.