It’s been about a week since I’ve posted on here, successfully defeating my goal of blogging every day this year. The truth is 365 blog posts is A LOT, and it’s really easy to be overwhelmed by 365 of anything. For a brief moment yesterday, I even began to consider shutting down my blog.
Then, today, it hit me.
I’m not overwhelmed by my blog or my failed commitment to write something every day of 2014. I’m facing what so many educators– and students– are facing at this time of the school year: I’m burnt out.
It’s been a long first year of teaching, filled with so many changes in both my personal life and the educational world. I have my first “big girl job.” I’m engaged. I’m planning a wedding. V & I are vaguely looking into moving in together somewhere. I have standardized testing scores to anxiously await, district mandated writing prompts and reading comprehension tests every few weeks, rotating schedules to remember, and so much more. Like I said a few months ago, I don’t do enough. Add over 10 snow days to this school year and being the last school in the state to close and it’s an especially rough May– usually at this time of the school year, teachers and students can say they only have a few weeks left. We have 2 months left.
A few days ago, a list of 10 Steps for Avoiding Teacher Burnout was floating around the internet. The list suggests things like having fun with students, redecorating, and taking care of your own health, just to name a few. I don’t think the creator of this list has been in a classroom recently, as most of the list seems unrealistic.
Instead, I remind myself to “keep calm and carry on,” a trite phrase I once despised. Even though I’m not the most religious person, I find myself silently reciting the Serenity Prayer when I find myself in a moment of frustration or disbelief.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Tonight, I found myself reflecting on why I became a teacher, and pondering what point I stopped referring to myself as an educator. A year ago, I had the honor of being considered as one of the speakers at the convocation ceremony for my Masters degree. I wrote a speech on why I don’t identify as a teacher, but an educator. My identity has slipped into teacher mode amongst SGOs, data, and talk of tenure, and I regret that. So, for the remainder of the school year, I’m going to do what I set out to do a year ago: be an educator, not a teacher. I want to change the world some how, some way, and I just needed a little reminder that this is a possibility.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day. To the educators out there, both in and out of the classroom, I appreciate you.