It is nearly the end of the school year and teaching is a whole new animal- a new species, in fact. We’ve lost connections, rhythms, and ourselves along the way. That sense of loss and burnout we are feeling makes sense. But there is light ahead.
Teachers are feeling the weight of teaching right now
Chances are, while our answers will have some varying degrees of difference, we are almost all assuredly on the same page of what feels like a never- ending book, or one we simply can’t get through and keep putting down. Definitely, NOT a page turner. As we enter Teacher Appreciation Week in our public and private school systems, it may be hard to feel connected to the things that we used to find joy from in teaching.
We can forge ahead with optimism
I think of those moments where a student “got it”, or we pivoted on a tanking lesson to have a successful class, or just simply had a GOOD DAY and laughed with our students. Right now, the “good days” are few and far between and we are merely in survival mode. This isn’t to sound bleak, or pessimistic, it just simply is. I think to the variations of the proverb regarding how all things come to an end, or this too, shall pass– and want to tell my fellow teachers, “It will. There is another side to emerge from”. For teachers, we always have the next school year. New plans, new faculty, new students to look forward to. So, forging ahead, what CAN we consider?
Teachers are feeling self-care burnout
I promise I won’t say “Self-Care”. I promise. Each time I hear that phrase, I imagine the copier scene from Office Space. You know the one. There are articles abound, podcasts aplenty, and well-meaning professional developments coming at us left and right. Notifications and alerts are a constant cacophony on our devices. The advice is to sleep more, avoid stress when possible, and search for inner peace. All of that falls a little flat to me right now.
The work life balance is so enmeshed that it is less of a balance and more of a casserole, baked together. So, you ask, “What do we do?” I say, stop feeling guilty. You are doing your best, and even if you actually aren’t doing your best, that is ok too. It is. I am here to tell you that it is.
Teachers are feeling a sense of loss right now
Embrace it and circle back to what matters and what works in your classroom. Think about those moments of connection, the emotional connections and the academic connections and how they are all inherently human of us. It really comes down to human connection. Juggling emotional connection in a socially distant world is a daily challenge. We put a lot of emphasis on finding ways to keep connections alive, but often come up empty- handed when our students don’t log on, or we feel alienated from our departments and community life.
Brace for the coming light
I truly believe that the light at the end of the tunnel is visible. Let’s go easy on ourselves as we wrap up the school year and just be kind to ourselves. We are human. Humanity in the classroom- virtual or in-person goes a long way. Your students will recognize and connect to that. We are great teachers.
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.