Stress and Sleeplessness

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Teachers live for summer, right? Freedom for adventure right at your feet, or just to use the bathroom whenever. Oh and all the extra sleep, but sleep started to stress me out during the summer of 2018.

Yes, that was over a year ago, but for the longest time I felt like if I talked about how much I was struggling to sleep, my sleep patterns would worsen.  But I don’t believe that anymore and here is how God helped me change my mindset.

In 2018 my adventures seemed limited to waking up in the middle of the night, taking care of my landlords house, and worrying about being able to provide for my wife.  I was attempting to control my little world but God wanted me to surrender.

When I would wake up worrying about our finances.  He would tell me he was in control anyway.  I would wake up worried about healthy eating and my physical health.  God would remind me that he has always taken care of me and that no matter what he wants the best for me. I started worrying about taking care of the house we were living in.  I didn’t want to be thinking about these things so early in the morning. Time and time again God would remind me that the best life is a life surrendered to him.

Yet, I stressed on.  I wanted to be able to provide for April, buy us a house, and make us successful.  Surrender is difficult, so I didn’t sleep.

Without sleep, my rhythm has been off. I cannot blame it on where I live, bad air conditioning, poor heating, or the fact that my wife is a furnace.  Figuratively and literally! When we are next to one another in bed my body temp starts to rise, which doesn’t let me sleep.  Like I said, last summer I started stressing about many different things, but most of all I stressed about how hot I was when I was hoping to be asleep or I would stress about sleep.

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A little history on my sleep patterns.  When I was in the seventh and eighth grade I started struggling to fall asleep because I was too busy thinking up the statistics for Terrill Davis and the other Denver Broncos. During 1998, when TD would run for 2008 yards on the season, I started calculating what he needed to do to reach that feat each night as I lay in bed.  Soon sleep outweighed my desire to not worry about stats.  My solution was a fan to drown out my thoughts.  Over the years the fan has morphed into prayer time at night, a thankfulness journal, and a rain noise app on my phone.

On nights when none of these solutions worked, I used I would envision a peaceful field or hike and I would take myself into that situation and fall into a dream so over the last year when I just couldn’t fall back to sleep I was unsure what to do when my mind would not shut off.

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I felt like I was lost in a sleep deprived haze.  My brain buzzed.  I was waking up with my heart pounding and in a puddle of sweat. I was stressed, but I didn’t want to talk about it and this made me feel alone. Why was this happening? Over the last year I feel like I would turn a corner and recapture that mythic ability to sleep through the night and then I would go and talk about it.  Someone would ask me, “how are you sleeping” and I would crash.  I was convinced that if I talked about my sleep, I would start stressing about it, and therefore, I wouldn’t sleep well.  So I kept silent. I refused to surrender and my adventure seemed to stall out.  But that would change in September.  More on that next week.

 

Peyton versus Eli!

Camping at Stewart LakeFootball season has tarted, school is back in high gear, and I am blogging again!

First, I would like to apologize for abandoning my readers.  I’ve been quite busy for the last couple of months.  I finished all of my masters classes and I’ve now started student teaching at Columbine High School here in Denver.  It is great to be back in the classroom.  I really feel like I am learning lots.

During my time teaching in Guatemala I tried to keep a blog every other week.  Now that I am teaching again, I am going to try to keep that same commitment.  I loved sharing all of my new experiences with my readers while I was in Guatemala and so I hope you all will enjoy reading about my time in the classroom here in Denver.

On my first day of teaching in Guatemala, one of my students, who was part Guatemalan (her dad is from Guatemala and her mom is from Indiana) told me that I looked like Peyton Manning.  At the time I didn’t know that she’d grown up in Indiana, so this comment really caught me off guard.

People have been telling me I look like Peyton Manning since I was in the 7th grade, around the time Peyton was a senior at Tennessee.  Once Eli became a star in the NFL, people started to claim I looked like him instead.

People started to argue.  Families were split, I know how the manning family feels when the two play each other (Which is happening on September 15th, Go Broncos!!), all over this single question: no, not which Manning is the better QB, but who do I look more like, Peyton or Eli?.

And so I thought that my students here in Denver would jump right into this argument.  Who do I look like more, Eli or Peyton?

I didn’t bring it up, not wanting to distract my class, but I was sure that one of the football crazy students would say something.  I mean Peyton is the quarter back of our home town team.  But it took two weeks for any kids to bring anything up.

Midway through last week a girl in my freshmen class raised her hand and said, “Mr. Scott, has anyone every told you that you look like Peyton Manning?”  I think she was hoping she would’ve been the first to have this thought.  Like any good teacher, I shattered her dreams.  “Yes,” I replied seriously, “we’re related.”

Sadly, I am not related to the Manning, and no I didn’t actually tell her that I was related to him, but I wish I could’ve.  I wish I actually was, because then I might not be only five feet eight inches tall.  Oh well!  I’ll just live to accept being a stunt double for either Peyton or Eli.  I’m just sad that they didn’t ask me to be in their F.O.Y.P. commercial.

So who do you all think I look like?  Peyton or Eli?

Peyton, Eli, and Brendan

Almost a Pre-K Teacher

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach preschool age kids? How about four-year-olds who’s first language is Spanish? Oh, these kids understand a little English now, but sometimes I feel like they just don’t want to pay attention.

Two weeks ago I was asked to fill in for the regular pre-k teacher and teach for a full morning. My first reaction was to throw a temper tantrum. With my semester’s experience of teaching these kids, I know how to throw a good one. But I decided to handle it like a man and see what I could learn.
Big surprise, all of the kids, not just the ones that who excel (a word used loosely here) in English, knew their classes’ daily routine. Routines are saviors for little kids. Early in my PE class I installed a routine. The pre-kers follow me out to the court. We walk on the wooden sandbox to work on balance, then hop around a set of stones that lead to the court, and finally we race to the center of the basketball court. At least that is the plan. If you can imagine the next part of the routine is even more chaotic. I try to lead them in stretches but they run around. Typically one of the little guys asks me if he can take off his jacket. This causes a chain reaction that ends in all the kids running-amuck, jacketless. On good days we follow our stretches with a bunch of different fun movements, like crawling like a bear, walking like a crab, and skipping. Then we try to play a game. My routine doesn’t always work that well, but I had hope their class routine would lead to an easy morning for me.
But, back to my adventure subbing their class. According to the child in charge of moving the Weather Clip it was a sunny day. As soon as he picked up the card with a radiantly smiling sun on it, the entire class shouted “SUNNY!” I think they were supposed to wait for me to ask what type of weather we were having. We didn’t make it that far, but we almost did. The rest of the day was filled with more almosts. We made it to chapel but I almost lost a kid. He decided to go to the bathroom for ten minutes. We made it to art and I almost didn’t pick them back up. Just kidding. They ate all their food during snack time and almost listened to me while I read them a story. Recess was fun, they almost emptied the sandbox. And finally during free time the boys almost destroyed the classroom. All of these almosts caused us to be late for their parents to pick them up. Yet, without their routines I think I would’ve almost died.
Teaching similingual kids can be fun because they kind of say really cute things. They have huge imaginations and they smile a lot. But I was exhausted by the end of the day. My friends kept asking if I was sick. It’s hard when you teach a class of kids who are all off in their own worlds most of the time. But, hey, they’re just little kids and I don’t think they should have to grow up too fast. I just hope I don’t have to sub for them again. That was a lot of work.