Education is an extrovert’s job. Almost every personality quiz I’ve taken has put me in a quieter profession. That said, I’m what you might call a social introvert. I like people, and I enjoy interacting with them mostly, but it simply wears me out. This was never more true than this week. I tried self care but couldn’t get the balance down. There was always something else to do, or get done. Somehow I ended up laying on my couch, completely victim to my own burn out.
Have you ever been there? Retired to the couch each night just trying desperately to recharge before waking up and doing it all again? Education can wear you out in the best of circumstances, but if something is off in your kids, the environment, or way the wind blows – it can be downright miserable. It’s the reason for the rise of teacher memes, comedians and web shows. The fact is, teaching is hard, and we’ve got to find the joy in the dark parts to stay afloat.
I received a call from my Principal after a particularly rough day. She told me to scale back, maybe not push myself so hard. I assured her I would keep trying to do this. As a perfectionist, I’m never quite sure where my “balance” might be. That said, I also intended for my kids to work hard, perform well and behave equally well. There was little time to scale back.
My pod teacher and I had already been working on strategies to leave me more filled at the end of the day. She is an extrovert, so while she didn’t quite understand my plight, after a few minutes watching in my classroom – she could see how the kids were wearing on me. She suggested a 10 minute block of silence at lunch daily. This could help me recharge and prepare myself to take on the rest of the day.
So, I set to work doing this, but that meant my lessons were a bit more scattered. I wasn’t quite as on top of things because I didn’t use my lunch as prep. Well, I had to be OK with it. Mainly because, I wasn’t going to last the year otherwise. I believe sometimes the universe will knock you on your butt if you don’t listen to the quiet signals. I hadn’t. So it was time for me to be more deliberate.
Self-care isn’t an act, it’s a habit. It’s something you must build in, so that when times get busy, it’s still there to sustain you. I wrestled with the lack of sleep in the last week, so I struggled with my kids. I didn’t have “time” to have family meals, so I was challenged in my classroom. I didn’t spend time reading at night, so I went to sleep depleted.
Exhaustion won this week, so it’s back to resetting my intentions and self-care habits.
Goal: 10 minutes of quiet at lunch every day.