I’m tired

A snapshot of a moment in the life of a teacher.

Maybe it’s the overcast, rainy day. Maybe it’s the work schedule that is revving up as I move into the last 2 weeks of production in our school’s spring musical. Or the fact that we are mid-March with nary a day off in sight. This is when we have 7 straight weeks of no school holidays.

I’m sure someone out there is rolling their eyes, thinking “just take a day off!” But what non-educators don’t grasp is that if I take a day off to preserve my mental or physical heath, like everyone else in the world does once in a while, it actually creates more work for me. Setting up my sub assignments, sending multiple messages to my students on various electronic mediums, then checking who showed up and did the assignment that I left for the sub that rarely exists takes more time and effort than I care to spend during a day off. No, I’ll just come in and do my regular work, thank you. I’ll rest some other time.

Also, these next two weeks are an uphill climb. I’m in rehearsals for the first in-person musical in over two years. I’m two years older and out of practice with the schedule, the energy output, the constant grind of after-school and weekend tech rehearsals, answering myriad questions, and solving problems in a split second. I have returned from my daily 7-Eleven coffee runs with larger cups with more caffeine in them. Not that the caffeine helps anymore, since what I really need is quality rest and down time. I will, as always, bring my A-game, but I am quite mindful of the fact that bringing it will take its toll on me. I will need recovery time.

This mindfulness, knowing what I need in the face of what everyone else needs, is something a teacher must develop over the span of their career. You can’t go 30 years without the inevitable slowdown. As a dance teacher, my job happens to be a very physically demanding one, and I am doing everything I can to maintain my health and fitness levels. In some ways, I am stronger than I ever was before. Despite (or because of) all that work, I can feel my hips, back and shoulders in a way I never did before. There’s no real balance, just an effort to keep things from falling apart.

So, on days like today, when the sun is behind the clouds and the vitamin D is not being infused into my pores, I definitely feel the lag. I alternate between sips of coffee and water, attempting to both hydrate and caffeinate. I am preparing for our third late rehearsal this week, after which I’ll return home and slide into low power mode. Thankfully, my wonderful family understands and gives me some love and space.

I’m tired, but I love my job and my students. For them, I’m still here. My A-game will be brought.

2 thoughts on “I’m tired

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