Sorry. I am just not feeling it today. I know this is true because even the coffee tastes funny.
Have you ever come to work distracted? I have.
Anyone who said “no” is engaging in self-misinformation.
Maybe it’s lasted the whole week, an entire month or longer since your attention to the job has been strained, compromised or unfocused? Maybe it’s a chronic or compounded form of distraction that no one, but you has acutely perceived? Phew!
I ask this because, I have recently witnessed a number of things (events) that are affecting the way I conduct myself in the classroom. And in all honesty, I’m not sure I like it? Maybe it’s a brain thing? Maybe it’s the time of year? With 80% of this year’s teaching days behind me, fatigue might be a factor? But why, and why now? Usually, it only takes an extra coffee or 5 to put me back on track.
I get that there are multiple things happening at all times on any given day at school. In the past few years, I’ve discovered how much the cold and snow of a Canadian Winter impacts my frame of mind. Couple that with a constant flow of new learning (professional growth) at a new school, labour tensions being ramped up in the media, imminent standardized tests, reports, global chaos, and year end organization for September are on looping simultaneous play.
And then, there are the intangibles beyond my headspace. These can range from behavioural issues, sickness, emotional distress in students, and in myself. It’s true. Teachers get sick, even weary from time to time too. Is that wrong? Not at all.
Sometimes we get sick because we are stressed and unable to articulate how we feel inside. I like how this short video lays this all out for the world to see.
Without delving into details, I’ve been wondering about my state of mind relative to my professional practice and purpose as an educator? Am I getting the job(s) done. Was that assessment enough? Did I give enough descriptive feedback? Did I spend enough time answering students’ questions? Did I empower them to seek their own answers? Am I making a difference?
With more questions than answers, this seems like a great place to share that many days I just don’t know?
So…how do I get the “feeling” back. I prefer the personal pep-talk via mind purging blog posts.
Whether it’s exercise, mindfulness/meditation, hobbies or conversation there are ways to restore your body and mind. In fact, as I write this, I have nearly snapped out of my “not feeling it” spell for now. For me, it proves that by sharing my journey in writing, helps me open up an otherwise conscientiously closed chapter in my career. As I reflect on my emotions and anxieties around my efforts as an educator, I keep hearing a singular thought playing like an earworm over and over in my head.
Remember why you became a teacher?
Ugh! I hate it when I beat myself in an argument.
OK, you’re right altruistic brain. Cynical brain can go shove a rock!
For many, more than the recovery strategies above are needed. How we deal with issues like these will inevitably lead us to examining our self-perception, our mental health, and our support network. I love this quote by Ray Allen to capture the possibilities that can be found in the highs and lows.
Going forward,I am happy to share that my school board, and many others are providing support, resources and care for the mental well being of its employees and students. If we are to grow beyond ourselves, we need to know that we are safe to have moments of vulnerability,that we have time to restore, and time to rise from the rubble. And as I am able to rise I will be…Thankful. Stronger. Wiser.