It’s that time of year.
The honeymoon is over.
The fat lady hasn’t sung, but she is warming up (is this an insult to fat or skinny people??).
If you work at a school it’s very likely that your patience is getting shorter, shorter, and/or gone.
We’re a long way away from the happiness the beginning of school brings and an even longer way from the next sweet sweet summer vacation.
It’s too early to start the year-end countdown (although I’m willing to bet each and every reader can name the person in their school that will start the countdown… usually by January 1) and it’s too late to remember how restful last summer was.
Each year fall arrives and brings a special feeling I like to call “I’ve Got to Find a New Job” or “I Hate Everyone Shorter Than 4’10”” or “I Should Have Been a ________________ (fill in your dream occupation here).”
This feeling is so recognizable.
It has an unmistakable look. A sort of fake smile (or grimace). There’s also an overall brooding.
This time of year, every school has employees who absolutely hate their job, their class, their school, and anything resembling a child. It’s like every family has a crazy person (and if you think your family doesn’t… that means it’s you).
In general, teachers are tired. They are beginning to feel like they are getting buried.
To compound the problem, parents have also had it.
And Principals need a vacation.
Notice I didn’t mention students. That’s because they aren’t infected with this feeling, but they are carriers.
If the general malaise of the school year isn’t bad enough, we have two major catastrophes headed our way (and I use the word catastrophe in the best possible way).
The holidays and testing.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and Festivus (and any other holidays you may or may not celebrate) ruin November and December (I use ruin in the nicest way possible).
Actually the holidays aren’t so bad, but the music stinks (I hate those holiday songs… every last one of them).
Testing gives us all a giant noogie around March and April (I use giant noogie instead of a kick in the …).
These events (and 20 more just like them) are exhausting.
There is no other way to say it… working in education is flat-out tiring.
People who have regular jobs don’t understand this. They get less time off than we do, so it’s hard to relate to our working conditions.
Educating students is draining.
That being said, I think we can often be our own worst enemy. It’s easy to fall into the trap where we think our jobs are harder and more stressful than any other profession.
Being an educator is hard. It’s just not that hard.
Lawyers, doctors, trash collectors, waitresses, construction workers, welders and everyone else (if they are lucky enough to be employed in this day and age) also have difficult jobs.
It’s not just us.
It’s not just our class.
It’s not just our school.
It’s not just this year’s parents.
Shockingly, it’s not even the administrators (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).
All jobs, when done correctly are difficult, time-consuming and tiring.
Teaching (or anything in education) is no different.
I don’t think we are wrong in pointing out the challenges we face. I just think we are wrong when we throw ourselves a pity party.
Maybe this year’s class is more difficult than usual.
Maybe they don’t listen or aren’t as respectful as they should be. Our job(s) is to make them better. At least a little better before we send them on to their next grade level (if we send them on… and if they are really bad… they are so getting sent on…).
Administrators face some of the same challenges. Maybe our employees aren’t all perfect. Our job is to help them improve.
If it was easy, everybody would go into education.
And we don’t want that.
Because if that happens, they just might figure out how good we really have it.