I Don’t Even Know

I have let this space just gather dust. I don’t know how to navigate it anymore. What do I write about? Do I tell stories? Do I post “updates?” Who am I updating? To whom am I writing?

Honestly, I didn’t even teach narrative writing very well this school year to my 8th graders. My 100-word memoir fell flat to me and I just couldn’t muster up the energy to write another personal story.

It’s not like things aren’t happening over here, but I wonder what is mine to share?

I could talk about my current grad class and how I love it, but feel like I am holding on by the thinnest thread. That anything that throws me off routine will mean I won’t have my assignments completed for class that week (like sitting here writing about nothing. That is not helping the homework get done).

I could talk about how I love my new classroom (same school, bigger classroom) and how I feel like a better teacher in that room, but at the same time how I feel like I am somewhat flailing because I can’t stay caught up with the grading.

I could talk about how the NCTE and ALAN conferences are coming up in a month and I am a respondent for three different round-table sessions and a presenter at one. How I get to moderate an author panel at ALAN. Or how I’ve been invited to a few exclusive author events while in Baltimore. And how I am not prepared for any of it.

I could talk about how I had a chapter proposal accepted and my draft is due in March and I haven’t started it yet because when is there time? And I a bit feel like an impostor, but want to do this to prove I can.

I could say that I just submitted a book review to a scholarly publication and I am terrified of rejection.

I could go on about how I’m taking Teaching Multicultural Literature this semester and next semester I get to take Immigrants and Refugees in Comics. I’m hoping to be able to use what I learn and read in both of these classes with my 8th graders next year, but I am afraid the rest of my 8th grade ELA team and/or my administrators will say no.

I could tell you how Halloween gives me hives because I never feel like I do it right. That by not really liking it, I am somehow depriving my kids of something fun in their childhood that everyone loves. How anticipating the crazy busy-ness of that day makes me feel nauseous for days leading up to it.

I could tell you that I worry every day about Eddie being a 5th grader and that he will stop telling me things. That I worry every day about Charlie and wonder how he is doing while at school. That I worry about Alice in school and making friends and how girls can be so mean and weird compared to the friend stuff I’ve experienced with her brothers.

I could also talk about how self-conscious I am of how I look. How I fret over my hair and how I feel like I look older than I am. How I wish I had time to have a gym membership and actually GO. How my eating habits were really good and now they are not because I have no time to be picky. How I am afraid my kids are eating too much garbage simply because I don’t have the time to devote to meal planning, reading ingredients, and spending time finding healthy options they each enjoy. I was walking and eating better and now I am just surviving…and maybe not even well.

Maybe what I am saying is, I haven’t written because I have a whole lot of negativity occupying my brain. I didn’t realize this until I just wrote it all out, so you know, irony and stuff.

I constantly question how my life choices affect the people I love most and if I am doing the right thing.

It feels selfish and sluggish, for instance that I am sitting at the kitchen table right now surrounded by grading and homework and empty vitamin water bottles while all three of my children stare mindlessly at TVs.

What am I modeling for them? How do they see me?

Or do they at all since I’m hunched over a book or a laptop whenever we are together?

I don’t know the answer to any of these. I do know that this kid still likes to come sit by me and that she has memorized a bunch of nursery rhymes and she thinks letters are super cool. I mean, it’s pretty distracting when I am trying to get work done, but it’s also awesome.

I also know that my group of 8th graders this year are voracious readers. Maybe some of the most readery readers I’ve had since being at the junior high (which, by the way, this is my 6th year there. My first 8th graders are college freshman this year. OMG). Anyway, I can’t keep up with their requests! They want so many books that I don’t have! So if you are looking to donate this season, maybe consider us? Here is our link to our classroom library Amazon Wishlist (they love audio books too, so we added some of those too. Seriously. SO MUCH READING!).

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I think writing this just like this is perfect. Bc life isn’t perfect and it’s ok to reflect that too. <3

  2. “What am I modeling for them? How do they see me?”
    “Or do they at all since I’m hunched over a book or a laptop whenever we are together?”

    I’ve felt and feel this all the time with my kids. But they do see the hard work and the passion. How can they not?

    Thanks for sharing the snippets of your life. We fill these blogging spaces when we want. When we can. Good luck with all that’s on your plate.

  3. Ann Storck says

    Thanks for being brave enough to post this. I have a lot of the same concerns. Sometimes I tell myself that even if my daughters remember the times I didn’t do well, at least they’ll know I wasn’t perfect and maybe won’t feel pressure to be perfect themselves. But I don’t know. Hang in there. Keep trying. What else can we do, right?