Teaching is hard. Really hard. It’s super rewarding and awesome, but it’s hard.
I do have really great days every so often and create or do activities from time to time I’m proud of and am excited to share with others. But those things don’t happen every day…or even every week. Many days I feel like I’m just trying to stay above water and wonder what on earth I’m doing all while trying to stay positive.
The start of the year has been tough.
I sort of feel like that’s saying the sky is blue. We’re teachers. Of course the start of the year is tough. So is the middle of the year and the end of the year. It’s in the nature of the job. But this year in particular feels different than the other few I have to compare it to.
My school switched to a 7 period day. I’m teaching new classes. The class I have taught before, I’ve completely restructured my units. It’s all good stuff. Really good stuff, but that doesn’t mean that the really good stuff isn’t really exhausting stuff.
A few weeks ago I was at a low point, and I kept seeing a similar message in many different places online. I know that was no accident. I’m using this as a space to keep all the things I found in one place.
Megan Burns posted this on Instagram a while back, and while she’s not a teacher, I needed to hear what she had to say. She writes:
Learning to rest while I work hard toward my dreams has been vital for me. When I feel like quitting it’s because I’m not resting.
Adventures. Coffee dates. Good books. Dreaming. Fun days with my family away from school and work. It can be an hour or a day or a week long vacation. It doesn’t matter how long, it just needs to happen.
You don’t have to quit, friend. Just find your rest. You’ll be so happy that you did.
This Twitter thread was encouraging.
I’m claiming that as one of my quotes this year. And when I think “do better” means “do all the things better right now“, I’m going back to something Elissa posted: “My students deserve the best me I can be right now, not the best me I’ll ever be.” As well as what Dan wrote in his post.
“It’s better for me to do 90% of what I know I can do this year if that 10% I save for myself means I’ll still be a teacher next year.”
I’ve been trying to get better at finding balance and being ok leaving school with things still on my to-do list and discerning when I should redo a previous year’s lesson and when it’s ok to reuse something mediocre in order to use the time I saved for myself. That’s no easy task for a type-A, perfectionist, with extremely high standards, and who is super hard on herself.
This past weekend, I practiced some of that. I watched my cousin’s little girl Saturday -a time normally spent working on lesson plans or grad school work. We went to school to watch my middle schoolers play basketball. There were times while there that I started to panic thinking, “I should be working on lesson plans right now. I should be getting grad school homework done.” But in the end, I kept reminding myself that time spent with her was more important than any math lesson I would write that day. I need to remind myself of that more often.
And I was even able to get her to take a nap for a bit in my classroom which allowed me to get some work done. 🙂
Updates: I didn’t want to change my original post, but I’ve seen a couple other quotes that have encouraged me in this area since posting. I’m going to add them, and anything I find in the future, below.
Someone commented with this quote, and I love it! A good reminder that I can’t do it all, all the time.
One of my friends posted this on Instagram. I know it’s so true, but I often struggle to do this.