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May 5, 2016

I have been working in a middle school for the past couple of weeks in the place of a teacher who is taking paternity leave. His wife has just had their second child, and so he is taking 5 weeks off of(1) work to be at home. So, I am teaching 13 to 14 year olds each day about essay writing and poetry. I usually only work a couple of days a week in the school district, so adjusting to(2) working every day has been a challenge. For the first week, after school, I would go home, sit down with my cup of tea, and fall asleep! Now that I am in my second week, however, I have toughened up(3). This week also happens to be 'Teacher Appreciation Week'. Parents and other volunteers organize a nice lunch, or small gifts for the teachers to show that they are appreciated. Teaching, after all, is not the easiest job. It can be stressful working with students of different levels of ability and motivation. However, there is satisfaction when you see your students learn, and also feel happy and relaxed in your class. Lunch was a great surprise yesterday. I went into the staff room, and found a long table full of delicious dishes of all kinds. Some parents were arranging plates, cutting cheese, mixing salads, and warming up desserts. Gosh, I suddenly felt like I wasn't at work! It was tempting to eat a lot, but I didn't want to feel sleepy during my afternoon classes. I went back to class in a great mood. We all need to feel appreciated, even if it's not with food, a thank you makes a big impact.

1. 'To take ....days/weeks etc off of/from...' means to take leave for a while from an activity.

a. The football player took two months off of/from training to rest his injuring.

b. The teacher was able to take 5 weeks off from/of teaching to be at home with his wife and new daughter.

 2. 'To adjust to' is something that we all do. It means to get used to something different.

a. The nurse had to adjust to her new night time work schedule (night shift).

b. Moving to the city from the country was something that was hard to adjust to.

3. 'To toughen up' means to become stronger, more resilient, adjusted. It is often used figuratively.

a. Biking every day has toughened me up and prepared me for a 10 mile race.

b. Living in a racist community toughened up the boy, and made him determined to work for tolerance.