I just read a really entertaining post by fellow transformED blogger Megan Allen, who provides a great list of things teachers go through in the first week of school. I related, as most teachers would, to just about everything on this list, but one item struck me in particular:
15. Your friends wonder where you are and why you fell off the face of the earth.
Yeah, we do disappear. I do, at least. Over the past few days, and especially on this long Labor Day weekend before the first week, this sentence has been running through my head. Must I disappear?
On the one hand, it’s just part of the reality of teaching. We get a long break in summer and then we give ourselves over entirely to the work until we start to burn out around Thanksgiving. Then we keep going and… it just keeps going. I choose to stay in teaching anyway.
Nonetheless, I have some hope that I will not need to disappear from the rest of my life starting next week. First, I’m employing some of the organization techniques I learned from Maia Heyck-Merlin in a PD she did at my school and in reading her new book, The together teacher. I reviewed the book for MiddleWeb here. And here’s a review on the book by another teacher.
What I’m hopeful I can change is
- the amount of work I bring home from school;
- the amount of mental space all of my to-dos and I-should-be-doing’s take up; and
- by setting clearer work routines and making many decisions about what I need to do and how I’ll spend my time each week ahead of time, I can hopefully carve out more space for my personal life.
At the same time, the mental and physical exhaustion of teaching doesn’t go away, no matter how organized I become. It’s part of the life of a teacher and one of the costs of having such an intensely engaging job. I’m reminded that I chose it, in part, because I knew I could never be bored by teaching and being bored was a fear of mine. (In fact, boredom was what I felt through a lot of my own schooling, so there is a bit of a circle going on there.)
Disappearing into my work is something I must enjoy on some level. You can sense the enjoyment Megan Allen feels at the beginning of the year in her post, too. Disappearing may not such a horrible thing, but its sustainability is certainly a question.
Do you disappear when school starts? And do you enjoy it?
[image credit: telegraph.co.uk]