So Monday morning, I did this to myself…
It’s Thursday. There is still a lump and it’s still sore. The swelling didn’t start to come down until yesterday. I managed to make all my morning lifts, even bumped up the weights on a few things, but didn’t make it back in the afternoons. Too tired. A little nauseous sometimes, too. Got a massage yesterday and Diana said my neck is inflamed. Pretty stiff. Not too painful, but I bet it has been just enough tension to wear me out each day.
Work is a complicated roller coaster of wonderful and frustrating things. My students are amazing kids. Some are dealing with some very real realities. Almost everyday this week, someone confided a heartbreaking story. Fifth week and I’ve earned their trust, I guess. That’s a good thing. Others are just delightful. This young man manages to make me laugh fully and loudly almost every day…
“Hey Mrs. White! If a guy on death row orders the ‘Never-Ending-Pasta-Bowl’ for his last meal, they can’t execute him, can they?”
“Hey Mrs. White! We’ve renamed you ‘T-Dubs’ is that OK?”
“Hey Mrs White!”…usually followed by a dumb joke or a funny photo on their phone to show me…or – and I love this – a question about exercise or nutrition.
All of my classes are wonderful. Every year, I swear it’s my best year teaching, but I can honestly say I am blessed this year. Classes are huge – bigger than ever. Not ONE issue. Every single kid is a sweetheart. They are different. They have different energy levels. Some can pay attention, some need a little help in that department. But there is laughter every hour. I play all day.
And then the job wacks me on the head (yeah – like that pic) and I want to quit. Adults I don’t know treat me with anonymous rudeness in emails. Adults I do know are also rude – the phrases “please” and “thank you” are rarely used by anyone who isn’t a teacher. Policy changes create inefficiencies and don’t make sense. Meetings are like attending class where seat time is the major grade. More emphasis is placed on data collection than on relationships with kids. Computer programs aren’t user friendly. That’s the unusual stuff that’s new this year. I’m having a really hard time acclimating to the harshness that I hope is unintentional. The usual stuff is also still frustrating – like getting paid for 35 hours when the job requires at least 50.
I’ve looked at the “needs” list once to see if there would be a transfer option, but honestly, that’s not what I want. I love these kids. I love this school. And that’s how it all started to spiral down fast years ago. Stress raised my cortisol, I ate to try to stabilize, I worked too much, and I ended up here…
Every hour of every day in this job, I struggle with maintaining the boundaries I need to have to keep this from happening again. Because if I do, I have no doubt that it would kill me. I choose to not be a martyr. I’ve changed where I park now so I don’t have to drive by the memorial placed on the football field near the faculty parking lot for our colleague who died last year. She as about my age and had complications from a stroke. I won’t speculate about her story, but I know how my story was going to end. I know what the docs told me and I know how I felt.
So I make the hard choices everyday. I don’t stay late. I don’t take work home. I won’t work the 50 hours. I miss athletic events. I miss concerts and plays. I miss because I choose my life over my job – and a lot of wonderful teachers I work with don’t set those boundaries because our kids need them. They need me, too, but I’m not there for them past 3 pm. And I most definitely won’t stay in a staff meeting past 3 pm.
I won’t let the stress of the job cannot change me again. I will have to pull the bounderies in a little tighter. I felt like crap all week and I feel like my immune system is weak. So I’m taking a sick day tomorrow. I’m going to sleep. I will probably do a light arm workout. I’m just exhausted and expect to feel better after a long sleep. I did bring my grading home that has piled up over the last two weeks. I will relax and do it at my leisure with coffee and limited
except for Tippy who will want to play, which is very similar to my students interruptions.
Sorry for the rambling. Just been a tough week. A tough month, actually. I really wanted to find a way to be an “engaged-in-my-school” kind of teacher while training my ass off this school year. I don’t see how I can do both. I know I can be a good teacher for my kids and train. To keep my stress level low, I’ll have to stay focused on the important stuff – home, training, teaching – and let the rest go. So keep sending me those anonymously rude emails IN ALL CAPS SO I KNOW YOU ARE YELLING AT ME – I’ll delete them. Poof. Gone.