Teacher Burnout

Take a Sigh of Relief: End of the Year Reflection

Can you feel it?  Can you see it?  The end of the year is almost here.  I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from my fellow teachers everywhere.  This past school year has been exhausting.  For some – the halls have been dark and full of terror – literally and metaphorically.  I do not doubt that each one of us will be glad this year is almost over.  
Every EOY (end of the year), I try to jot down things I learned from the past year or thoughts about lessons that either went well or were a bust—it kind of puts the year in perspective for me.  I wonder if we would all have some of the same thoughts about our past year?  Some words that come to mind:  exhaustion, overwhelmed, stressed, emotional, angry.  I honestly cannot think of many positive words – but maybe for some, there are a few:  grateful, healthy, fortunate, mindful, grace.  For me – I have a few from both the negative and positive pile.   It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who – “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”  
This past year did test our patience to the extreme, whether it be learning new digital platforms, remote/hybrid teaching/face to face, COVID-19 protocol, parents (an ever-present factor no matter the situation).  2020/2021 took that phrase we know by heart, “modify and adjust,” to a whole new level.  
I have hope or prayer for this end of the year – call it a takeaway if you will. 
I hope our takeaway this year made us even more compassionate of others that we will learn not to take anything or anyone for granted and appreciate the gift of time we have.  We will become better people/teachers in the end and not bitter individuals lashing out at the world around us as a wounded animals.  If you are in the latter, take the time this summer to further reflect on whether you should return to the classroom.  Please do not make that decision in the midst of your pain, but give it a little time, then decide.  Your health – mentally, physical, and emotional – are oh so important.  
While we are off this summer, the most important thing we can do is REST!   Right now, in the online tutoring world, my dashboard is pretty empty, which is very depressing for me, but that’s okay.  Maybe it’s time for me to start my summer a week early and not stress over “not being busy” while my teacher friends wrap up their school year.  I believe we all need time to rest, recover, and rejuvenate to restore our broken pieces and do so without guilt.  This summer will be the one time I will probably not be offended when someone makes that comment, “Must be nice to have all summer off!”  In the past, I’ve held my tongue, but this year I might actually replay, “You have no freaking idea.”   

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