Written 7th June, 2018
Today I took a mental health day because being a teacher is hard. Having to know 60-odd students inside out – who they are, where they are at and what they get up to in the weekend. Not to mention their abilities within the classroom, relationships with other students, their beliefs around what they are capable of and their parents long list of wants for their child.
Even on a good day, it’s hard to keep up.
My head is constantly spinning – Sarah can’t add fractions, Kylie is struggling to construct a sentence and Claudia is having a fight with Tracey. Kylie’s mum is complaining that I’ve given too much homework and Sarah’s mum is complaining that I haven’t given enough. Tracey’s Dad is on my case because she didn’t achieve well in her last assessment (and yea… it’s my fault 🤦♀️), yet Tracey refuses to do anything in class, stares through me when I ask her a question and finally grunts something out if I wait long enough. Joy thinks she can’t do anything and had incredibly low self esteem, Fred has ADHD and struggles to control his impulses and stay focused for longer than 8 minutes at a time. Trudy is dyslexic and had dyscalculia, but is a highly gifted gymnast. April is addicted to her laptop and I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she is actually doing the task set. April’s mum also thinks April can do no wrong – so I’ve given up making contact with that parent about anything to avoid some sort of backlash because I’m made to feel like I’m in the wrong.
When I try to fall asleep at night, I think about Ken and his worry about how he is struggling to think critically and write information in his own words. I worry about how on earth I am going to push Jennifer in maths when she is so far ahead of the others (and my own ability 😳). I wrack my brain for a creative way to teach my class about how people have conflict over natural resources so not to bore them. I worry about Claudia – how she is feeling after her fight with Tracey and the fact she had an insane amount of extra curricular activities after school that she is a walking zombie in class. I worry that I can’t possibly worry about every single child I teach. There are physically not enough hours in a day.
I feel sick to my stomach when a parent insinuates I’m not doing enough, that I don’t know their child well enough, or they believe their child over me (a grown adult🙄)
I punish myself when kids complain it’s too hard. I punish myself when kids complain it’s too easy. I punish myself for feeling overwhelm. I punish myself when I feel so shattered that I just don’t want to go to school. I punish myself when I feel the fire inside dim. I punish myself when I want to do more but I mentally can’t.
On top of this, I need to be a mother, a wife, a cleaner, a chef, a business owner, a motivator. Constantly filling up everyone’s cup up with my love, energy and attention till there is nothing left at the end of the day for me.
Does this mean my best isn’t enough?
Does this mean I am not enough?
I refuse to believe that. I know I am enough. I know I make a difference.
But I need to learn to put myself first or the education system is gonna lose a pretty amazing teacher.