How’m I doing? Well, lemme tell ya…

Let’s let the title of the blog guide this update.


It’s going.  Being accepted to Viable Paradise gave me some faith in myself, but that only really boosted me for a week or so, then it came back to forcing myself to work when I’d rather be in the hammock reading, or playing video games, or going to movies.  But I’m writing.

Yesterday I worked all day and came up with only 300 words, partly because I just couldn’t get the words to flow, but also because I had to take some time off for business–setting appointments for my daughter with the doctor, buying groceries, cleaning the disaster in the kitchen.  Later, when my wife and daughter went out shopping, and then after daughter went to bed and wife went to a friend’s place, I wrote an additional 1200 words.  So in all, my total for the day was about 1500 words.  Not quite my preferred quota, but nothing to sneeze at, either.  I just wish it hadn’t effectively taken all day.  Those dragons in Skyrim won’t stop themselves, you know.

Looking forward to having my brain ripped apart and my ego crushed and (hopefully) rebuilt at VP in October.


Not happening.  I keep telling myself I need to practice more, as my skills have atrophied to the point that I’m probably worse than I was back in May.  It’s not that I don’t want to practice, and I realize this sounds like an excuse, but it’s difficult when I’m almost never alone.  My daughter is not really very good yet at giving me time, so practice is frustrating beyond all reason as she interrupts every thirty seconds.  So I try to practice when I’m alone–which is about two days a week.  Still, I need to make the time.  I lost the ability I had as a kid, and if I want to get it back, I need to practice.  But knowing it, and doing it, are two different things for me right now.


I’m both excited and scared of my classes this year.  I was given a pretty hefty schedule teaching four preps, which is messy and ought to be avoided.

For those among you who don’t know teacher jargon, a “prep” can mean either a break–a class period in which you don’t teach a class–or a subject you’re teaching.  So when I say that my Prep period is 6th, that’s the latter meaning, but when I say I’m teaching four preps, that’s the latter.   Usually teachers aren’t supposed to have more than three preps, which is already pushing things in my opinion, as each prep is a separate task of planning, support, and teaching.  But, to be honest, it’s better than teaching four sections of one class in a row–that can be sapping on one’s nerves, especially when all four classes are reading the same thing at the same time.

This year I’m teaching Journalism, Advanced English 10 (sophomores), English 12 (yay!), and three sections of English 9.  I love teaching English 12, even with the Senior Project requirement.  I wish I had another section or two of that, but ah well.   This year’s seniors–well, 150 of them, at least–were also my Freshmen, so I’m looking forward to this year’s graduation, but that’s practically forever away, so I try not to think about it too much.

All in all, I think I’m doing pretty well.  How’re you?

Published by Michael R. Johnston

Father of an eighth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Fifty years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA

One thought on “How’m I doing? Well, lemme tell ya…

  1. Those dragons in Skyrim won’t stop themselves, you know.

    I knooooow. I keep telling people I have this serious issue where the folks of Tamriel have been depending on me (since 2002!) to solve all their problems, but they just look at me funny when I say that…

    More seriously, I got a boost, too, out of VP acceptance, which faded by the end of July. I’m still writing, but not with the fervor I was. Maybe fervor isn’t required. I guess we’ll see.

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