Finding the Silver Lining

ImageI’m in a rough place this year as a teacher, a parent, and a fallible human.  I’m at my breaking point and starting to think that perhaps teaching is not the field for me.  I hate when I get into this mentality, especially since I know that I am (or can BE) a GREAT teacher.  This year all of my worlds have collided HARD and I’ve been reduced to tears more often than my first year as a teacher.  But with a goal of doing solid reflection, I’m trying to find that silver lining.

One of the toughest things we must do as teachers, is strike a balance.  It is a pivotal point in not only our instruction, but in our lives.  We find it difficult to find a balance between give and take with our students.  We wonder, how much should we allow our students to attempt on their own?  How often should we intercede?  When should we assess; how should we assess and how much?  Do we need more hands on or more whole class instruction?

Then there is trying to find the balance with TIME.  I don’t think people realize (and this includes administration) exactly how much teachers do or how much time it takes to do them WELL.  I often find myself leaving my house at 5:30am and sitting in my classroom at 5pm.  Someone will walk by and balk, “you’re still here?!  Go home and relax!”  But I can’t relax.  Grades are due, progress reports need to be updated, parent emails need to be responded to, REEDS need to be written, behavior reports need to be filled out, sample projects need to be made, papers need to be graded, essays/written assignments need constructive feedback, lesson plans need to be updated, students need tutoring, technology survey is due, DWAs need scoring, tech mentor duties to fulfill, student work to file, a routine for IP GOBs monitoring to establish, and the list goes on and on.  Some of you teachers will laugh and agree, it becomes damn near impossible to even find time to go to the bathroom!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like bringing work home.  It eats into my time with my family, and yet it is impossible to get that list of things done with the time I’m given throughout the day.  Some of these OTHER duties make it very hard to continue to provide my students with quality instruction; it also makes it very hard for me to be a present wife and parent.  If I don’t get some of these things done, will the administration, parents, students, etc  understand that I couldn’t finish my duties because my daughter desperately wanted me to sing a song with her and play “restaurant” or my husband wanted to catch up after returning from a long business trip?

How do we find the balance?  How do we prioritize?  How do we let go?  At present my life is in the middle of its own BIG BANG.  Everything has collided into one massive explosion that is greatly affecting my teaching, my parenting, and my sanity.  It has become so hard to find anything positive about my job as a teacher that I have been contemplating taking a break and finding something else.   I’m hoping that, just like the Big Bang (theory), my mess will fan out into a beautifully structured cosmos, I’ll center my teaching chakra again and all will be right with the world.