Teachers get a lot of advice that supposedly helps them to be better at their job: Never smile before Christmas break; never cry in front of your students; always be positive. It seems like teachers are expected to be these superhuman beings who handle everything with poise and positivity. If a teacher is having a bad day, they are supposed to suppress it and give their all to their students. I don’t know about you, but, after trying to be everything for my students for the last 9 months, I have nothing left to give. As I look around my fellow teachers and talk to them, I think it’s safe to say that we are all in the same boat. Exhausted. Mentally, physically and emotionally.
I have been struggling lately as the end of the year approaches. (19 more days, but, hey, who’s counting!) It wasn’t until I met after school with a parent that things finally started to make sense. She and I talked, and later she called her son into the room to join the conversation. Her son has been struggling with talking a lot during class and talking back. She asked him how he feels when someone interrupts him or makes it hard for him to talk. Her next comment was what is sticking with me: “Teachers have feelings too”.
Little did I realize, I have been looking for validation. I have been looking for someone to recognize my daily struggles and that they affect me personally. I am currently teaching in a school that isn’t supporting me or helping me, so this parent’s recognition and validation means a lot.
“Little did I realize, I have been looking for validation.”
I hope you aren’t in this same boat. If you are, don’t be afraid to recognize what you’re feeling and do what’s best for you. If you aren’t at your best, you’re not able to give anything to your students. If you are not in this same boat, look around your staff and build up someone who seems like they are struggling. I encourage you to find another teacher at school and complement them. Write them a note, send them an email, shoot them a text, call them or go spend your morning talking to them. You may be surprised at how much you can build others up!