I have to admit, this school year has been a challenge. I’m feeling more than a little stretched thin and I’m finding it hard to have patience and grace in moments when I probably really should. This year got a little weird back in September, when I combined French 2 classes with a colleague of mine who has never taught level 2 before. As a result, my “original” French 2 students started to feel a little “taken over” by people they didn’t know well, and the newcomers have had a hard time forming a bond with me (and the others) because I can tell they’re not really sure who their “real” teacher and “real” classmates are. Not to mention the class size itself is beyond what is normally allowed at my school – so all of this is manifesting itself in the way you might expect: classroom management problems. Lots of them. And it’s my fault, especially when I start to lose my patience.
To add to that, my grandmother died unexpectedly at the beginning of September which resulted in me having to miss several days of school in the crucial relationship-building stage. At the beginning of October, I broke my foot and was on crutches/had limited mobility until just before Thanksgiving and oh my god just as I was typing that sentence a spider dropped down and dangled in front of my face.
I mean COME ON, you guys.
So all of this – combined with the fact that just this year I’m starting to take more of a leadership role in my district as more and more teachers are starting to get interested in this idea of TCI/teaching for proficiency – has left me with the biggest Impostor Syndrome feeling ever.
Which brings me to my #oneword for 2016: relax.
Yup, that’s it. Relax. Like many teachers, I put an unreal amount of pressure on myself to be GREAT. To have GREAT lessons and GREAT students who have a GREAT experience in my class. When things go south, I beat myself up and stress some more. And you know what? I just really need to chill out before I burn out.
Teaching is my job, but I cannot let it become my life. I could spend (and I have spent) HOURS perusing resources, finding lesson ideas and inspiration, coming up with the perfect lesson plan or story or assignment but you know what? I just can’t. I can’t sacrifice my mental health for my job and I won’t.
I am only one person and all I can do is try my best and let the rest go – for now. Stop trying to do so much at once and accept when things are (as Amy said) – already good. Or even just good enough.
So, that’s my word for 2016: Relax. Inspiring? Probably not. But I hope that looking at it will remind me (and maybe you!) to ease up on the pressure to be GREAT ALL THE TIME. I’m going to be in a relationship with myself a lot longer than I’m going to be a teacher – that’s just a fact – and that’s the relationship I need to remember to work on sometimes.