Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ups, Downs, and Down-and-Outs...

For some reason, about this time every year, I get down and out. This year has been trying for both personal and professional reasons.

Last week, I had a melt-down... I had graded all day on Saturday and took a couple hours on Sunday to read (OMG - I took time for *myself*). Then, afterwards, I felt guilty! WTH??? I guarantee none of my students feel guilty if they don't get all of their homework done... Why should I deny myself time to rest and relax? Why should I be focused on them 100% of the time rather than my family and my sanity?

How did I solve my dilemna? Take up a new hobby of course!! LOL.. I decided life was too short - that I was personally putting all this pressure on myself and at the end of the day, all it does is add to my insanity. So I decided to take up candle-making (tart-making if you want specifics). Starting Wednesday evening, I've now made 4 batches, gave most of them away already, and have the stuff for 4 more batches in my kitchen right now. How liberating to have a hobby that is about ME rather than school! :)

Since Wednesday, I have been more able to focus on my kiddos, which makes me a better teacher. I have decided that I have been too focused on the details (like grading), and not enough on the stuff that truly matters (like quality lessons, sharing ideas with other teachers, etc). I've decided that I need to recenter myself and get back my creativity and love for the planning rather than the dread of the grading.

One of the ways I've tried to give back was through this blog, but as you notice, I've not done that much lately. I want to get back to the "check out this neat lesson" and "here's a cool link to share", etc...

I'm so grateful that there is a place to vent (somewhat anonymously), a diary of sorts that people can read and hopefully know that other people go through spouts of self-doubt. I'm grateful that this week is a time of celebration, to appreciate family, good food, and the blessings we have (and of course a few days to sleep in!).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Approximately Normal In The Classroom said...

I tell you this all the time, but it's SO great to know that an amazing teacher like you with ALL your experience still has the SAME issues as new teachers like me.

Hope you have a GREAT Thanksgiving!

Sarah Cannon said...

Thanks for sharing your struggle. I'm not sure whether it's reassuring or terrifying that you felt guilty for taking personal time. (Reassuring because it happens to other people. Terrifying because the struggle for balance continues well into my foreseeable future.)

I approve of the new hobby. My only experience with candle-making was at summer camp. But the season is right for candles, and they make great presents.

I hope you have a restful Thanksgiving.

Jackie Ballarini said...

I too am in the reassuring/terrifying camp. It doesn't get easier, does it?