Inside: 10 Confessions of a tired teacher during DEVOLSON (the Dark Evil Vortex Of Late September, October, November). Just a teacher keeping it real.
It is time for another #Confession post. It is DEVOLSON. (If you have not heard this acronym, check out Love, Teach for more info on the Dark Evil Vortex Of Late September, October, November).
With my Inspired Proficiency Interview, Ashley mentioned that she related most to my confession posts.
When I asked about what people are struggling with in my Mis Clases Locas Facebook group, it was the most commented post so far. Everyone has deep struggles that they rarely get to share. On our social media we often give our #highlightREEL. On our personal accounts we share that one family picture where everyone is smiling, but do not share the 100 pictures of struggle and fruit snack bribes that it took to get to that one semi decent picture.
On our teachergram or teacher Twitter we excitedly share about something shiny and new and what went well. For many reasons we often to not share the #HighlightREAL when we are close to panic attacks from school stress, when we blow up at our students, when we throw out an assignment instead of grading, or when we have thoughts about leaving our job or the profession entirely. We are professionals and understand that what we put out there is public and can be seen by admin, parents, coworkers, students and more, so we hold out tongues and keep up the facade that we all have it together.
IT IS ALL A LIE.
Every teachers has struggles at some time.
Some are just better at keeping up the positive public face than others.
I feel like I need to insert a dose or reality to hopefully help you realize that you are not alone. Teaching is HARD. I know we are all at different points in the school year grind, but the whole thing is just exhausting. I know my school had an early Homecoming, so post Hoco was basically the start of DEVOLSON. (Also, I started this post in mid September as a back to school confession, but hey life happened and now 6 weeks later it is a DEVOLSON confession!)
While I am right there with you, my biggest advice is take care of yourself and don’t take school work home. For some background if you are new, I am a #deptof1 Spanish teacher in a small town with 5 & 3 year old boys at home. Do you want to feel a little better about yourself?
Here are 10 confessions:
1. I missed two meetings in one day.
TWO. But, really the fact that I had a school related meeting both before and after school is really the problem. It is not like I have four separate preps to plan for and grade right?! To be fair I did not miss the whole meeting, but both times someone called my classroom phone to remind me that I was now late for some kind of extra meeting outside of contract time. Outside of contract time, but basically assumed and expected that I attend the parent/IEP/committee/staff/etc meeting.
2. There is a never ending To Do list
Mine is a giant notepad that is next to my keyboard on my standing school desk. I have multiple color coded lists for different things to do in a week. The pleasure that crossing things off gives is pretty high. Yet, there are always things that keep getting added. On Friday I transfer what is left over to a new fresh list. Last week I had everything in one color still left untouched. (You know that when I get to it list that I never get to). So instead of rewriting it all for the next week, I cut out the whole chunk and taped it on the next week. Someday we will have a blank To Do list. Right?
3. Over Committed
Anyone else over commit? I knew my fall was going to be crazy, and I really did try to check things off that To Do list and plan in advance for the crazy of 2 weeks that included facilitating a full day workshop, plus 2 conferences (one of which I was on the board and running the awards, and the other that required two days of flying). At the same time, I have realized that presenting is really where my heart is and I do really love connecting with people face to face in workshop sessions. So, I am willing to take some crazy while doing things I love. (& bless my husband, plus grandparents who came to help with the boys while I was away. It takes a village.)
4. I have not been working out
I did so good over the summer and did the full 80 day obsession workouts in my basement while my boys had independent play time. Once school started, of course I fell off the wagon. October 1st I started the 100 day morning meltdown with high hopes since they are shorter. Well that crazy October threw a wrench and once again I am on the no work out train.
5. I really needed a day off, but having a sub is more work
I love that more teachers are taking mental health days, but the mental strain of prepping for a sub outweighs it for me. The same goes for the next item on the list below.
6. My Throat Hurts
There is a never ending battle as a teacher to not lose your voice and be sick. I have chronically lost my voice since high school (including visiting an ENT). When I talk a lot and my immune system is low, my voice just goes. I drink all the hot beverages, the tea, the hot water with lemon, but sometime what I need is to just not talk. So there have been multiple days this year when mama’s throat hurts, so instead of the planned input from me, students are now reading to a partner, or doing an activity on Chrome books, or reading and doing the dreaded comprehension questions. It is all about balance, and sometimes that balance comes with input from someone that is not you. Shout out to all the teachers on TPT creating things for me to use when I just can’t!
7. Commute has become a refuge
My drive is a little less than 30 minutes, and I used to dread it. Since my boys go to daycare in the town I live in, my drive is solo, and now I love it. Last school year I started with pod casts on my drive & now I have moved to audio books. I used Audible for a hot minute, but now just use the Free Libby App connected to my library card. It means I might have many planned books on my waiting list, but you can’t beat free. But, if you like audio books and want to listen to what you want, when you want it, Audible is the way to go. (If you do purchase an Audible membership through my link I will make a small commission. Thanks for your support!)
8. All the extras wear me down
As we all know there are so many extra commitments and duties beyond just teaching. In a tiny school it seems there are a lot of extras that are expected of the teachers, that are not true in bigger districts. For example, being expected to take tickets at multiple sporting events. For an out of town teacher with kids to take tickets at one game this means: scheduling daycare later so my husband can pick up the kids after he gets off work (2 weeks in advance or there is an extra charge on top of the extra time charge), staying after school to wait for the game to start, and then getting home when my kids are in bed. Also, on a rotating basis high school teachers are the junior class sponsor, which means fundraising, planning, and chaperoning prom. (Lucky Junior class sponsor again). Plus meetings for international trips, conferences, 504 meetings, book study, PLC, TLC, and all of the other things that our students really want us to attend.
9. Being a working parent is tough
My oldest is in Kindergarten this year and I have a whole new respect for elementary teachers, and parents of “those kids.” Let’s just say I was that model student who would never think of doing something naughty. Let’s just say that does not apply to either of my children. I get Dojo reports of my child in kindergarten “rolling around on the carpet & bothering others during work time” or “sprinkling dirt a girl’s hair during carpet time.” (My son’s response “It was just one rock!”) We also recently got “pulled into the teachers office” at religious ed. class since both boys had quite a hard time following expectations. It is so hard to try and be a great parent for your own kids, when you are mentally exhausted from teaching other people’s kids all day. I wish my family got the best of me & not the rest of me.
10. My student helper does everything
I have mentioned it before, but you need to know I have an amazing Junior from my Spanish 3 who is assigned to me during what would be a study hall. She makes all my copies, she makes all my bulletin boards, she cuts out everything, she has even created English comprehension questions for me from a text, and generally makes me look way more put together than I am. Please know, I have help! Please know, you should find help too! Go find a student in study hall or homeroom to help you. At my school it is a class, and we give them a grade. Even without an official program like this, you know there are students who love to feel accomplished. It feels great to put things in a pile that do not require a degree, for someone else to complete.
BONUS! Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Almonds
(since somehow I ended up with #10 x2)
My desk candy of choice this year are Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut Almonds from Aldi. They are divine and perfect to pop in your mouth when you need to take a breath behind your desk and not lose it. #confession I have finished many of these containers this school year.
What are your confessions?! Please share so we can all realize we are all in this together!
If you do purchase an Audible membership through my link I will make a small commission. Thanks for your support!
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