Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wondering, pondering, and reflecting...

So, it's Christmas Break, right? We have a few days this week when the school is open and I know I should go in and organize and do some work, but can I be honest? I don't really want to. I have been down and out sick for several days and I have to say that I'm not all that thrilled thinking about how this break was supposed to get me on track with planning and teaching for the next several weeks. I'm tired. Just plain tired.

Does anyone else out there wish we could take a sabbatical from teaching and still have a job to come back to? I know that the blog world is generally a very positive one, but I know there are others out there who must be feeling as worn out as I am. I have actually been taking a big break from reading blogs because they can make me feel stressed about all the amazing things I should be pulling off in my classroom.

I was thinking back to when I taught this grade ten years ago in another place. Yeah, I know it was another time too. But I was thinking about how the stress was so different. I was in a much smaller, rural school and the focus was on doing the best we could for our kids. I know times have changed in a decade and I am teaching in a very competitive suburban school, but I can't help but reflect on how the stress I am feeling is just not good stress for me. I know that I was sick the last week of school, but kept pushing until the break and of course I'm really sick now. Fun vacation, right? I think the stress level and my packed four hour mornings have not helped my illness level this year. Yes that's 4 hours before sight of a time without students. That means, as all teachers know, you better have your morning routine down pat if you want to make it through to lunch.

I'm beginning to think the balance is tipping for me. I love education, but lately I'm not feeling all that great about what I'm doing. I love my class this year and I am enjoying my grade level. But the classes get more and more challenging every year. So much so that I don't feel like my job is really to teach anymore. It's to manage and parent and run meetings and administer tests. Oh, apparently I am the attendance police this year too. The teaching part is coming second and I can't help but feel that it's second rate.

The politics is a factor too, due to time and place. I have several wonderful colleagues who I work with. It's just so hard to try fitting into a new building again. The fact that I am from another building makes this a little challenging. It shouldn't, but sadly it does. When did teaching become so competitive and some times just plain mean? I think it may also have something to do with the fact that most people think I am in my mid-twenties and started my career in this district 5 years ago. A few have expressed surprise when age or experience comes up. I'm not a newbie!

So, here I sit thinking of all the things that need to get done, the organizing I need to do, and the curriculum I need to pour through, and how I just don't want to do any of it. I want to be able to come home and not think about the piles of papers to correct and copies to make and management things to change. I keep wondering how other teachers can manage everything and still have a life when the day is over. Because, I sure know that all I think about after school is school. I love teaching, but I want my job to be a job and to not feel like my life is defined by my job. Maybe the teaching of tens years ago just isn't teaching anymore. Maybe thing have "progressed" too much.

I know this was a Debbie Downer post, but I have been doing a great deal of reflecting the past few weeks and wondering where my place is. I feel a bit like I am going through my teenage years 20 years too late - wondering what I want to do with my life and if I'm not a teacher, who am I?

Does anyone else wonder about their place in education?


  1. I agree with SO much of this post! I am getting my 36th student when we return from break...and managing the large class is taking its toll.

    Chickadee Jubilee

  2. Without going into too much detail - I'm right there with ya!
    It bums me out because I feel very strongly that I was put on this Earth to teach little ones. And I LOVE teaching, so it makes me very sad that I would leave teaching public school in a heart beat if I could afford it.
    For now, I stick my head up high, smile and tell "them" that I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing and pray that this blows over...

  3. Agreed!! I love teaching but it gets overwhelming sometimes!! I have defiantly felt like teaching should not consume so much of my life!! Hope things look up for you soon!

    The Resource(ful) Room

  4. Next year will be my 10th year teaching and I've taught every grade PK - 7 except 1st and 4th so for about 7 of those years I've felt like a new teacher all over again. This is my 1st year I don't feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants on a daily basis.

  5. "The teaching part is coming second and I can't help but feel that it's second rate. "

    So, so, so true! I feel that I'm struggling with keeping my focus where it belongs. Everyone wants a piece of the teacher. Sometimes there is little left for the students. Our district keeps redesigning our curriculum and scope and sequence, so even if you stay in the same grade, it's a new year every year. I love teaching, I just wish more of my energy could go into it.

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?