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Burnt out

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.

A year ago this face was a lot less burnt out.

A year ago this face was a lot less tired.

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.


Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a little something I’m calling “Twenty Questions.” The idea is to write a poem in which every sentence, except for the last one, is in the form of a question. That’s it! It can be as long or short as you like. 

Today is a half day before Spring Break being used to replace one of our snow days from this winter. There aren’t many students in school, and a lot of teachers are out as well so I’m currently covering a class. The following poem stems from the questions I’ve heard in class.

1942: Worthington (Ohio) High School- Don O'Brien

1942: Worthington (Ohio) High School- Don O’Brien


“Yo, did you save that snap chat son?”
“What is this?”
“What do you think it is, fool?”
“Excuse me, can I go to the bathroom?”
“Miss? May I go to the library?”
“Are you a teacher sub? Or a sub sub?”
“Anyone got a charger?”
“Wait… can I charge my phone, Miss?”
“Are you writing that down? I didn’t mean it, alright?”
“Want to see my grades?”
“Can y’all just shut up? Can’t a girl do her damn work?”
“Yo, why you so upset, Mami?”
“Who you calling Mami?”
“Miss, you hear EVERYTHING, do you have kids?”
“How old are you?”
“Where’s the teacher?”
“How did you find out?”
“Yo, anyone else buggin’ that we’re here?”
“Hey! Can I see the answers?”
Class dismissed.



Today some of my students started Googling me in class… and discovered my modeling career. By modeling career I mean 35 seconds of not tripping on a runway in front of hundreds upon hundreds of women at one of the best blogging conferences I know.

I had a momentary silent freak out, and then I remembered that, as a blogger, I have made the choice to let my voice be heard. In class, I value the honest relationship I have with my students. Despite my slight bit of unease to know my students have seen me in a ton of makeup walking on a runway, my momentary anxiety was fueled by my blog being attached to my “runway show.” Then I remembered the mantra I’ve had since I’ve been blogging: if I’m posting something I wouldn’t want my students to see then I probably shouldn’t be posting it anyway. This mantra has made me a better blogger, much like the experience of being a model in the BlogHer13 Fashion Show helped me become more confident and unafraid to embrace who I am.

Do your homework, kiddos. Seriously.

Do your homework, kiddos. Seriously.

So, although I say this with a bit of unease, welcome to my life, silently lurking students. Yes, your English teacher was in a fashion show this past summer. Yes, your English teacher is a blogger. Yes, your English teacher has a life outside of school.

Welcome to reality, my dears. Now go do your homework.