I’m not sure what contributed to the angst I carried around today. There could be logical reasons: not enough sleep last night, hormones, not enough to eat, thyroid issues? Maybe all of the above.
Instead of accepting this heaviness is due to something physical within me, maybe spiritual or purpose driven, I begin to search outside of myself to declare the culprit.
February and March are tough months for teachers. The year is 3/4 over when fear and anxiety begin to set in. Testing looms just around the corner and many of your kids are still not writing in complete sentences or worse yet, even turning something in. You question everything you are doing. Student behaviors are at their peak – name calling, teasing, and just an air of low vibrational energy that radiates in the classroom. It gets thick in there. Interruptions fill your days when you know you have so much more to teach. Your colleagues are all so busy with these same issues that no one has time to reconnect on a deep level to ask the question, “How are we really doing?” Sometimes that question alone is enough to cause breakdown in some of us. It’s no one’s fault. It just is what it is.
When I was a literacy coach, I traveled to Ohio State University twice a year for almost a full week of PD and renewal – always in November and early March – just when the I’d fallen into the valley of despair and determined that being a greeter at Walmart might be a better job for me. I always came back to school with new insights and fresh eyes.
Teachers do not get the luxury of going somewhere for a few days to get outside of the situation in order to look at it with new eyes. We stay in the situation and muddle through. And sometimes we drown.
Understanding the change curve is one way to ground ourselves in resiliency. Teachers go through this change curve every year when a new crew of students rush into our classrooms. Sometimes we go through the whole cycle each month – or even within a week. I’ve gone through it in one day. The important thing is to recognize where we are in this cycle and to know that we can work through it. The other thing is this: We have to reach out to others that might be feeling it, too. We are not alone in this work, even though we often feel we are.
So, tonight, I’m sipping on a fresh cup of decaf Carribou coffee, snuggled in my knit blanket and not thinking about school. Some Dove dark chocolates rest in a small bowl and my book is calling to take my mind away. I am being a tender wife to myself until this wave passes.
And it will, because I’ve been here before and I’ve survived 100% of all those other times.
(images by of Maxine by John Wagner @ Hallmark and change curve from http://surviveatwork.com/coping-with-change/personal-transition-through-change-2012/)