Now, don't get me wrong, I love the students I teach. I respect the careers of my peers and supervisors, and I went into this knowing full well my capabilities, weaknesses, and strengths. This is a good fit for me. Maybe not perfect, but good. I fought long and hard for this. I earned the right to do what I do. I don't know how long I can keep doing it. Isn't that sad to say? There is so much stress involved being a functional special needs teacher with testing, paperwork, planning, organizing, and dealing with the protocols, daily flubs, and daily struggles. It is wonderful to see student progress and to celebrate milestones, but it is devastating to find flaws in your system, cracks in your facade, and holes in your plans. When things go bad, they can go really badly in relatively little time. One second, peace, the next..boom! chaos.
Sometimes I feel like I am alone in my ocean of responsibility and want some company, and sometimes I would rather be alone in the ocean and handle things my way.
When you work with other adults in the same room, there has to be a clear leader.
I like to share leadership and take turns. This reduces stress. I like to delegate tasks and have time to stop and think and plan for the next stage. Sometimes this irritates people. They think they are doing my job. They don't realize I need them to be a sounding board, provide fresh perspectives, advocate for the students they are closest to, and to help out with more than the mundane cleaning, managing, and grading papers. I haven't yet learned the art of getting people to do what I want while making it all seem like their idea. Instead, I accept the ideas of others.
The other half of the coin is doing everything the government says I have to do to be 'in compliance' and to keep the 'school grade' high. Some of this is really political. We all play nice, but those that know the right people are the ones who get things the fastest. Sometimes I feel like I won't ever understand a person and that is holding me back. I have to be forced to contact them and make my requests.
I can get along with almost anybody, work with a myriad range of personalities, but sometimes I get overwhelmed by trying to hold it all together and trying to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes I stay quiet and observe when I need to speak out and put a stop to some actions. It happens. Then I feel guilty.
Mostly, it is not guilt that plagues me, but a sense of inadequacy. I feel overwhelmed and out-maneuvered.
Work is WORK, man.
When do I have time to be ME? You think teachers just give homework, but they take home as much baggage as any student and plan and give and nurture and spend their money on their students.
Many of you would say, "yeah, well, what did you expect going into the teaching field?"
I knew full well what I was getting into. Really, I did. You don't do this without knowing the sacrifices.
But oh, the sacrifices! Sometimes they catch up to you.
This month, heck, this time of every school year, is full of the overwhelming sense of being bogged down and mired in the daily grind. While the daily struggles are new, and the tasks are many and varied, and it is never mindnumbingly boring, it is emotionally draining. Can I be better? Can I do more awesome things? Look at my failures. Look at what I have not accomplished. Look at what I forgot I planned to do by February. Look at how much time is left until Spring Break! Why are they whispering about me? Why is everyone frowning?
Okay, so some of that is paranoia, but when you get ..prickly.. it feeds the monsters and they grow to fill the spaces between the planning, organizing, testing, and failing. Sometimes you need a little space. And being snowed in is not very space-giving. I know February is about Love and Support and I have a very loving and supportive husband, but he is sick of my ranting. He is one of those "work is WORK" people who tells me to suck it up and problem solve with my logical half of my brain and just figure a way around it.
So I am.
And my creative side is longing for a great escape. I've been watching travel shows, reading books, and planning writing escapes in my bits of spare time.
(Anyone got a winning lottery ticket?)