Slice of Life 2021 Day 23: Chores

Today marks Day 23 of the Slice of Life challenge. Join me as I work to write every day in March – and beyond!

I actually started this blog post a couple of years ago. My flurry of housecleaning over the last day or two has inspired me to pick it back up again and put it out into the world.

There’s a lot to keeping my house in order.

My school house, that is. To me, my job is much like running a home. There’s planning, scheduling, coordination of supplies, keeping people happy, you name it. At home, I don’t take care of things for only myself. The same is true for school. There are the kids to advocate for and teach. There are colleagues who need support, guidance, and resources. There are administrators who like to have meetings. And more meetings.

And more meetings.

Of course, that whole big picture can be broken down into a series of small and not-so-small tasks.

Chores.

The backbone of domestic life. The bane of domestic existence.

At home, there are chores I actually like doing. They’re the ones I do as my preferred form of procrastination. Sweeping, for instance. There’s something about the feel and sound of the broom, about getting into the corners and cracks and seeing all of that dust and junk come out of hiding.

At school, I’d most closely relate that to my #1 favorite school task, hands-down: ORGANIZING.There is something inexpressibly wonderful about a clear desk, about a room where paper and clutter have no place. Morning Me loves it when Afternoon Me has taken five minutes to make things pretty for the next day. I know there are those of you out there who get it.

Then again, there are certain chores I avoid like the plague. Like the dishes. I’ll clean off the counters, organize the junk mail, rearrange the fridge, all to put off standing over the sink with a sponge. And the fact that I’m going to have to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day – just makes it even less inviting.

At least if I’m home, I can delegate the chores I hate to someone else. (Ask my children when I folded their laundry last.) I can’t get away with that type of delegation at school, where the burden falls upon me.

At school, it comes down to GRADING. Oh, I’ll do it. I’ll spend my time reading through the papers, writing in comments (not in red, of course), and entering grades in the grade book. But wouldn’t it be more fun to file my papers? To check my e-mails? To visit classrooms and check in with teachers? Wouldn’t I much rather confer with my students and give them all in-person feedback? Of course it would. And of course I would.

But the fact remains that there’s work to be done. Like doing the dishes, I’ll take care of it, hopefully before the stacks become too big and and menacing to handle.

Will I ever learn to love this task? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. In the meantime, I’ll count on my music playlists and Flair pens to soften the blow.

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21 Responses to “Slice of Life 2021 Day 23: Chores”

  1. WOWilkinson Says:

    Thanks for sharing. Your post is so relatable. There are so many chores I’d rather do than tackle an overwhelming pile of papers to grade. I like the connection you made between home-chores and school-chores.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks! And I know that I SHOULD tackle the grading before it’s overwhelming – which contributes to my resistance, but…there you go…

  2. Book Dragon Says:

    I love how you paralleled home chores & school chores. So true that there are chores I prefer.
    I like that you put ‘grading’ in all caps – the word appears ominous, just like those towering stack of papers.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose you’re right! I love it when people see things i my writing that I hadn’t. Thank you!

  3. vivian chen Says:

    I love this comparison of house chores and school chores. At home I use vacuuming as my procrastination tool or organizing my desk. There’s a long list of ones I don’t like, but one that I never do anymore is ironing. Way back in the day we had to do attendance registers every month by hand–once in pencil so the office could check it first and then in pen. Everyone hated doing it, but I loved it. I found it so wonderfully mundane.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Ahhh….vacuuming. I love it too! Anything that gets the floors clean – although the scrubbing part is not my favorite. As for the attendance, I can see why you might like it. There’s something meditative about mundane tasks like that, I find.

  4. Tim Gels Says:

    I wish I wasn’t, but I’m a cluttered person (I don’t wish it enough to change, though). That said, morning me loves afternoon me as well when he takes the time to organize before going home. As other commenters have said, I like how you’ve drawn a parallel between home and school chores…there are a lot of similarities!

    In August I get to go back to the classroom after a few years out for a coaching gig. I’m looking forward to it so much, and hope to establish some new habits when I get back: grading in a timely manner and keeping organized (read: neat) are at the top of my list!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Welcome back to the classroom. That’s exciting! I’m in the kind of position where I’m giving some support to colleagues, but also have a caseload. So…I get a “kid fix,” but I still do miss having my own group of loveys to take under my wing.

  5. arjeha Says:

    Ah yes. Who among us can’t find something else to do that just needs to be done before starting that dreaded task we don’t like doing? In school, afternoon me always straightened the desk before leaving because morning me would have a fit coming in and finding a disorganized desk.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Exactly. It’s much more happy-making to see that clean surface in the morning! Kind of like coming back to a made bed in the evening – at least for me.

  6. hzreflections Says:

    I love how you compared house and school chores. So interesting. I love organizing too. I dislike cleaning bathrooms at home. At school, I agree with grading or right now it is creating a whole grammar curriculum that spirals for short 10 minutes lessons. Ugh… project since last spring.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      That sounds like an INCREDIBLE project, actually! I spent a fair amount of time this year putting together grammar resources for standards in grades 3, 4, and 5 – instruction, practice, scaffolding and enrichment. But the idea of putting things together in a cohesive curriculum? That sounds like some amazing work you’re doing.

  7. Shaista Says:

    I like doing the dishes AND cleaning the floor. I find the getting up and starting part hard. Once I do manage to start, I don’t want to stop!
    I never thought of home chores as akin to school chores, but I love that insight!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Yes, it’s much easier to clean when I’ve already started at it. It’s a good, mindful sort of work that I enjoy as well.

  8. Fran Haley Says:

    I am one of the people out here who gets it, Lainie, the Afternoon Me leaving things pretty for Morning Me. Sets up such a lovely segue into the day. Love how the cleaning led you to dust this post off to share – I have done this a few times lately and savored that bit of closure! Seems a perfect time for these words – and timing (as with jokes) is everything.

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      Thanks, Fran! I was actually thinking that at some point I might do a post about the drafts that I have languishing…and, perhaps, why.

  9. Anna Maria Says:

    Morning me loves when afternoon me clears the clutter too. Dishes- agony. I hate doing them too.

  10. livinglife816287820 Says:

    Hats off to you having to do all that grading, it seems like a chore in the true sense of the word. I absolutely don’t know how you get it done along with all the other tasks. Does it help to do five or so at a time and then have a break? No grading in primary school fortunately!

    • Lainie Levin Says:

      The good news is, I don’t have to do grading in the same sense that a high school teacher does. But I *do* have to do plenty of record-keeping, and I also like to give meaningful feedback to my students whenever I can -which puts the pressure on at times. I’m trying to find that balance. A girl can dream!

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