Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm a survivor...

Seems hard to believe that October is around the corner. How can it be that it's only been 4 weeks, and yet how can the first month have already come and gone?

Many new teachers experience a "survival" phase their first months of their first years of teaching. Heck, I'm feeling it myself in my fifteenth year. Though I think calling it a "survival" phase diminishes the amazing work that is done in the first few months of September, it does call attention to the rapid learning curve of new/first year teachers and the tremendously hard work teachers do every day. During this time, it is hard to keep your focus above the day-to-day work. We forget the big picture, and get bogged down in the minutia of each day of teaching.

It's not unusual for new teachers to spend 70 hours on schoolwork, so it's no wonder you're tired on Fridays - you're constantly trying to keep your head above water. This is so normal, to feel overwhelmed with this new career.  You're probably beyond the total excitement of the beginning of the year, but you are likely still incredibly enthusiastic, have lots of energy to continue learning about your students, and making your lessons as engaging as possible.

Now's a good time to take some time to reflect on all that you're accomplishing. It's also a time when you might need to take a day this weekend to stay in your pjs and watch a silly movie, or spend a few hours with a friend on a walk through the fall colors. You are surviving, but you also need to take some time to find a balance. I don't know any teacher (or any adult, really) that has perfect work-life balance. And frankly, it just isn't realistic to think you'll be able to have it in your first year(s) of teaching. Teaching is hard, hard work. But this weekend, plan for a little balance. You'll need to care for yourself now, so you can care for your students throughout the year.


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