No matter what you do and no matter how much you love what you do...at some point everyone wants to quit! I don't write this to discourage you but to recognize the truth. At some point this school year, you will reach your breaking point. You will reach the point where you have had enough of the bad behavior, you are exasperated by the administrations expectations, and burnt-out by all the grading, planning, and other paper work. For me, I always started the year excited and ready to go with a fresh perspective and attitude. But I always hit my breaking point. From this point forward for the rest of year I would limp along...just making it. I think my first year of teaching I made it about 2-3 weeks. By my second year, I had made it through the first 6 weeks, and my third year, I made it to October. My fourth year, I made it to Thanksgiving before hitting my breaking point.
I write all of this because as a teacher I always craved validation that my feelings, my exhaustion, and my difficulties were ok. Typically, the rest of the world looks at you and sees a free summer. They have no idea the blood, sweat, and tears you place in your work. So let me just tell you - YOU ARE NOT ALONE! What you are feeling...every other teacher out there has felt as well! This is a hard job! Thank you for being willing to do it! It is OK to be frustrated just don't let that
frustration and overwhelming feeling define you or the remainder of your school year.
I have four practical tips for you...
(1) Give the frustration a voice - tell your spouse, a friend, colleague, or write it down (then rip it up!). Once you've given that frustration a voice - throw it away - don't let it eat you up!
(2) Do something for you! Take weekend and binge watch a series on Netflix or read a good book. Eat take out and forget for a day or two you even have a job.
(3) Remember...you chose this job for a reason. You want to be here. Sometimes, when the going gets hard...you have to choose. Choose to be at school. Choose to have a good attitude. Choose to consistently and graciously deal with those difficult discipline problems. Choose to respect the leadership of your administration. Choose to continue planning fun lesson plans even when the boring stuff is easier to plan. Choose to have fun. It is all a choice. Now granted, it can be a very hard choice. Part of one school year, I prayed my way through each class period. It was a rough spring, but my goal was to coach and talk myself (with God's help) through each hour. At the end of each class period, I found two things I could thank God for from that class. This really helped me!!!
(4) Turn-off your school brain when you aren't at school!
Make a plan and priority to have at least one 20-30 minute conversation where all topics are student free, school free, and education free. Have this conversation with a person who has nothing to do with education!
When you go home and you are doing the dishes or taking a shower and all the other things of daily life, forbid yourself from thinking about school things! Something pressing? Write it down on a note or in your phone to look at and address when you get to school the next day. If you are not at school and you are not doing specific school work - you should NOT be thinking about school! I made the mistake of having a 24/7 school life. I was almost always doing school work or thinking about it. This is exhausting! Take my word for it and don't do it!
Happy Teaching :)
-Founder of Chemistry with Confidence