This is my first post since the Winter Break.
Before the break I felt like I had a ton of ideas and a boat load to share but since returning to school I have felt more drained than recharged. To be completely honest I think there are a few reasons. The first is my schedule. I teach a dual enrollment US History course and my classes follow tge college calendar. This means 5 of my 6 classes took their ‘Final Exam’ in early December but we have still been meeting on our regular schedule. I have the same students in Semester 2 so we kept working but in some students’ opinion the class was over so they were done. Trying to get them to do anything took everything I could muster. Now that the 2nd semeter has started that switch as flipped and they are all in again.
The second thing draining me, I think, is that I have been paying way too much attention to EDU Twitter. In the old CCR song “Fortunate Son” there is a line that says
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord, And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer More! More! More! Yoh,
Now, I know this is a lyric about families sacrificing for the Vietnam War but I see some Edu Twitter and that ‘More, More, More’ lyric just floats through my head. Whatever I am doing pales in comparison and I should be doing more.
The last thing draining me is taking down the Christmas lights. Going from bright and hopeful to dark, rainy, and dull is just a downer. All of this mashes together and just makes January exhausting.
There is more more it all mashes together into a minor melancholy.
None of this is really the point this post but I saw a tweet the other day about how positivity is a choice and we teachers need to maintain this positivity for the students. This sentiment has become boilerplate in my education Twitter feed. Sacrine messages of motivation with all the sincerity of a hallmark card. Logically I know this has no basis in real life but the emotional side of me reads it and sinks lower. Am I the only one feeling down in the classroom?
I am choosing to share my struggles with you (because this is my blog and I can 😉 to let you know teachers are not immune to doldrums. Take all the stuff above and throw in a busy personal lif, a 1 year old that isn’t sleeping well, 2 other boys under 8 and… Well… I find myself crying over the lyrics to Hamilton and Frozen songs.
I wasn’t going to share any of this until I was in class today and saw some students working on a Google Form Lock Puzzle. I made what I think John Meehan would call a “break-in” puzzle. To get to an interactive map (more on this in a future post) students had to unlock a digital breakout form. It was a fairly simple 2 lock puzzle where the students were looking through 2 websites for key words about the 1900’s Great White Fleet. There were 2 girls working on the locks, talking, getting frustrated, even laughing. It was interesting to watch. Then they asked me for help and I thought about giving them a hint but thought better of it. I made them work on their own a few more minutes. The girls broke the locks almost immediately after and were quite proud of themselves. They will always remember who Alfred Thayer Mahan is and his relationship to the Great White Fleet.
It was a productive struggle.
And their struggle made me think about the struggles I am having. More than that I want you all to know that everyone struggles. Every clever Twitter feed, immaculate Facebook page, or perfectly curated Pinterest board is baked by a fallible and real person. We all have moments of doubt. We make mistakes, we battle with lonliness and fear. I have intentionally avoided medical terms because I don’t want to diminish a legitimately diagnosed depression, anxiety, or other condition. These are real concerns and all the motivational posts in the world are not going to change that. We need more than pithy comments. We need to,aknowedge each others personhood and be supportive. Really listen. I will do my best but I am not a professional.
I don’t have the answers to all of this but know that if you are going through some low moments you are not alone. If you need to call someone. Here is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number.
Available 24 hours everyday.