For anyone out there who cares to know, I’m not doing great. This year has drained me. Going back into the last few weeks of the semester after Thanksgiving Break, I’m usually ready to go. After all, three weeks is nothing leading up to Christmas Break and the end of the semester. It’s usually one of the more chill times of the school year. Except that this year it isn’t.
All of the rest I got over break seems to have all vanished in a matter of hours. Don’t get me wrong: things are good in my classroom. I’ve really enjoyed my students this year. They are learning and growing. I’ve developed some really great relationships with them. They’ve been real troopers. My colleagues have been encouraging and helpful. My administration has been awesome and super supportive. I’ve even gotten an extra period to keep up with virtual students. It’s just everything else that’s sucking me dry.
I never know from day to day who’s actually going to be in my class and who isn’t. I have to keep track of who wears a mask in my class and who they’re sitting near so that I provide accurate information should I receive an email asking for it. I have to make sure my online students have everything they need for the week. I try to check in with them regularly but don’t get much in response. And it seems like every time I open my email, I have another student who’s getting quarantined, and I have to start the process all over again to keep them up to date in class.
None of that even really has anything to do with my content. I’m trying to develop lessons and activities that keep students in place but are somewhat active and engaging. I have to provide feedback and assessment for them. And I’m not one to just give them something to do and sit at my desk, although I have done that some this year because some days I just need to get caught up. It doesn’t last long, though, because I’m up again and walking around, checking in, and helping with assignments, all the while thinking of everything else I need to do. And I just refuse to spend my entire evening working. I feel like Bilbo Baggins in one of his best lines from Lord of the Rings. “I feel like butter scraped over too much bread.”
I realize that this may come across as whiny and complaining, and maybe it is, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one in this position. It’s just the reality of my year. I’m not going to sugar-coat what’s going on in my classroom. I’m not going to pretend like things are Insta perfect, much as I’d like them to be. That’s the reality of this year, and I know I’m not the only one. A lot of teachers are feeling the same way. Just know if that’s you, you’re not alone. And we will get through this. And we will be better for it.