I’m preaching to the choir… but teaching is hard.
It’s mentally and physically exhausting.
Teachers give so much of themselves, and no matter how many times someone says to brush something off we can’t help but take it personally because teaching is our lives. Negative comments on our teaching feel like attacks on who we are.
That’s why when we first closed for distance learning and then got the final word that we would be closed for the rest of the year I had a very guilty feeling…
I felt relieved.
Relieved to know that the aspect of physically being at school teaching, in a place that was wearing me down, was done for the year.
Now, to clarify: I love the same things that every teacher loves about teaching. I love the kids. I love spending my day with tiny humans. I love our conversations, their sense of humor, their ability to just be who they are without holding back. I love seeing their minds grow and their curiosity expand. I love how they make me feel, too. I’m also so lucky to enjoy my team. I get to work with some of my best friends. It’s the coolest thing.
On the other hand, I don’t like the same things that all teachers dread. Paperwork, grading, the bureaucracy of it all. The meetings, the passive aggressive comments, nitpicking, the comparison of my scores to someone else’s, the feeling that there’s always more to be done. And this year, I had a few interactions with others that just wore me down.
At the beginning of the year I had an exchange that did me in. I couldn’t bounce back from it, and it weighed heavy on me every day. It still does. I’d drive into the school parking lot and dread going through those doors because that memory was pulling me down. Holding me in such a bad place, and I couldn’t move on. Telling someone to get over something isn’t how emotions work.
I was also trying to start the year fresh after a challenging year of behaviors and needs last school year, and I found myself entering another year of having to give it my all in terms of classroom management. There wasn’t enough of me to go around to support all of my kids because some will always take up more space than others. Now don’t get me wrong, we made a lot of progress, we made so much growth… but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. It takes a lot out of you.
We also don’t have a curriculum– we have a scope and sequence based on the standards. We’re producing quality instruction, but it’s quite a bit of preparation and takes a lot of time to gather and create resources and material. That means we’re also making changes to how things have traditionally been done, and you’ll frequently face resistance when you’re rocking the boat.
So, with those factors constantly looming over me… hearing that we were done was a relief. While there still was a lot of work involved in distance learning, it took away a lot of the weight of this year. It gave me space. It’s giving me time to recover. To distance myself from many of the negatives involved in teaching. Relief doesn’t mean that I wasn’t sad, though. Honestly, it sucks to not have the fourth quarter with the kids. As many have already written, it’s the best part of the year with the kids. You bond so much and their growth is astronomical.
I’m sad about not getting to have that time with them, but nothing I can do now will get that opportunity back… so I’m telling myself it’s okay to also be relieved that the year is over.