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Burnout

October 30, 2011

Teacher Musings:
I’m actually pretty resilient.  If I have one bad day, I go home, relax, get a good night sleep, and then I’m ready to go for the next day.  If I have a bad week I enjoy a couple glasses of wine on Friday, make a to-do list, get some work done, and I’m ready to go on Monday.  In some ways I almost prefer it when I’m tired or wiped out because things in my classroom were rough.  I can fix my classroom; I have some control over that.  But these last few weeks weren’t particularly bad weeks.  This time it’s not the bad or troubling moments that are getting to me.

It’s the complete and utter fatigue.

I work a lot.  I mean, not as much as other teachers in my school, which makes me feel lousy, but I work a lot of hours.  I have meetings at least twice a week after school, and I stay with students one or two days a week, often until 5 pm.  I work anywhere from 3-10 hours on the weekends.  I work at night after my son goes to bed.  I wake up an hour early to get work done.  And this week my body couldn’t take it anymore.  My thinking was fuzzy, my nose was runny and I started to become almost paranoid.

So I took a break.  I called in sick instead of going to work with a low grade fever and pumped up on Sudafed.  Of course I worked on my sick day – there is always something I have to do – but I did a little bit less than I could have and when I was tired, I slept.  I felt a little bit better the next day, but I’m still trying to take it easy.  I really want my job to be sustainable.  I want to be able to teach well and have a family and develop myself as a professional and take on leadership opportunities and be involved with my son’s development.  I was almost doing it all – and then my body said “NO!”

So, this week I’m back to working out, even if there are papers to grade.  I’m back to not working from home, even if I should check my e-mail more often.  I’m back to taking my son for an evening walk instead of thinking about my classroom while he plays by himself.  Maybe I’ll even get back into crocheting, which I love to do and haven’t done since my son was born.  Because as much as my work, my school and my students demand from me, they are not watching out for my health.  Only I can do that, and I need to get back on the ball.

Yummy Stuff:
Since we just got some nice October snow (really winter?  really?  I soooo wasn’t ready for you!) I was very proud of my husband for doing our final harvest of basil and parsley at just the right moment.  He has been patiently plucking mountains of basil and then grinding it in the food processor with olive oil and then freezing the mix in ice cube trays.  So, now in addition to our many containers of frozen pesto we have bags of basil-chunks to add to sauces, pasta, sautes, etc.  Yummy!  He also made a great big batch of tabouli with chickpeas (which used up parsley, which I will be very excited to munch on for lunch this week).  One last burst of summer in our freezer – this seems like fitting metaphor when I see the snow outside.

Pureed and froze purple basil – not very pretty, but very practical!

Tabouli!

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From → Basil, Parsely, Reflection

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