Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'm Not Superwoman and 3 Other Things I Learned This Week

So I may or may not have had a slight break down last week.

It was one of those weeks where I was not only emotionally compromised due to the anniversary of the death of a coworker and friend, but my grades were due and a bunch of stuff for grad school was due as well.

The only shining beacon is that spring break started last Friday.

::cue sounds of angels singing::

I am the type of person that decompresses by being alone. Unfortunately, Saturday and Sunday were spent with family and friends from out of town so it was not until Monday that I actually got to decompress.

In the past two days I have drank some wine, slept A LOT, drank a little more wine, read for pleasure, drank just one more glass of wine, and finally was able to gain perspective on the entire ordeal.

In total, I learned five things. I'm going to put them in a list because I love lists.*

What Daily(ish) Teacher Has Learned Since Last Thursday

1. I am not superwoman.....

I wish I could stay on top of my grading AND my grad work while I am coaching softball (with no assistant coach ::cue crazy smile::) all while still having a social life. Needless to say something had to give and sadly, the thing that gave was my sanity.

I can't do it all.

I can't do it all.

I can't do it all.

I say it over and over again because I can actually say it now. Growing up, my mother and I would get into the biggest fights ever because I would refuse to ask for help because I didn't want to seem broken or weak.** I have slowly gotten better over the years but it took until this moment to fully realize that I really can't do everything.

By far, one of toughest things to learn is your own failings.

2. ....but I am superwoman to my students

I have talked before about how my students value me beyond what I'm teaching them in the classroom and although that is nice, it isn't what made me think of that this time.

On Thursday, we had a half day and I happened to have all of my sophomore classes that day. The day before, their research project that they have all been stressing over was due.

I could have given them some bonus assignment on Shakespeare (our next unit) or actually tried to teach. Instead, I gave them coloring pages.

Yes, I gave a bunch of 15 and 16 year old students coloring pages.

They were beyond excited.

As they walked out, a lot of them said to me "Thank you. I really needed this" with a look of gratefulness on their face.

Although I am not superwoman, I just saved my students from having a break down by giving them 30 minutes of freedom from high school
I even got in on the stress relieving drawing craze

3. Laughing is vital to survival

If it wasn't for laughing, last week would have been worse off. And, it isn't just about yourself laughing, it is about making others laugh as well.

For example, I am an avid Doctor Who fan and so is one of my fellow English teachers. When the Weeping Angels came up on my daily calendar of Doctor Who villains, I freaked but knew I had to play a practical joke on my coworker since she was also dealing with stressed out sophomores. So this is what I put in her grade book when she wasn't in her classroom

If you have no idea why this is freaky, see the video below***. Regardless, for any Doctor Who fan, this is something that is going to make you jump and freak out as it did to my coworker in the middle of her class.

I know her sense of humor so I had no fear she would laugh. It was a good and much needed laugh for her which also helps me because I know for a moment that I brought a smile to someone's face.

4. My students will constantly surprise me

I felt like giving up. I was realizing why nearly half of teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years.

It is stressful. It is time consuming. It is emotionally draining because of how much you care.

You care and you care and you care yet you feel like this article from The Onion (that has NSFW language).

Recently, I gave them an assignment to look at a story from a different perspective and create a podcast about it. The goal was to put them in the shoes of someone else and to see the story through their eyes. I was expecting kids to do this last second and not put a lot of thought into it and just tell the same story I had heard over, and over again.

Although I got that, I also got some really really really awesome ones that made me so happy. The stories they were able to retell were AMAZING. They really grasped the concept of a podcast and two boys, who are on the quiet side, were able to actually tell a story in an amazing way. I put together a video of their podcasts so you can enjoy my student's work as much as I do.

Seriously, It is wonderful and I was pleasantly surprised. It is times like this that I remember why I do what I do.

I learned that I love teaching and even though I am stressed, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

*if you think that is strange you have obviously never hung around teachers who, by nature, break EVERYTHING down into lists for students.

**The short version: I knew I was smart but hated that I just couldn't remember to do or complete things which I felt made me appear dumb so I refused to ask for help since I wanted to prove that I could do it. Curses of ADD

***Yeah, I'm just giving you a link to the video and not embedding it because they freak me out too much. Go here to get the short version as to what they are.

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