Wellbeing – we have all heard the phrase and are often reminded to consider it.
I have read a few blogs about it recently:
There are others, they are popping up because it is half term. Teacher’s ‘Me Time’ – yeah right!
I am not sure where this post leads – to be honest it is a bit of a brain dump. So please don’t hate me if I draw no conclusions or solutions. There might be some advice, but I suspect I am advising myself more than trying to help others!
I am, I suspect, a workaholic. I am reasonably confident that many teachers are. They just use words like ‘professional’, ‘committed’ and ‘driven’ to hide behind. I like to think I am these things too. I should be. But when is enough truly enough?
Not all that long ago I think that I found that point.
I didn’t look after myself properly. Slept little. Snacked badly. Drank to much coffee (in my own opnion). I worked. Literally all the time. Did it make me better? I don’t know.
I DO know that I got into some really bad habits. Over preparing, 2nd guessing myself – 3rd guessing sometimes!
What I do works, however I am not sure that all the extra made a real difference.
We all know about workload: planning, marking, assessment etc. etc. it is a burden but one we have to bear.
So, I suffered.
Tiredness, exhaustion, stress, depression, alienation from family and friends. No-one’s fault but my own ‘commitment’.
My family suffered. They lost me. Evenings and weekends evaporated. We didn’t do things together because I was ‘too busy’.
I am a workaholic and I have a problem.
There I said it.
I have forced myself to slow it down, stop it or do a little less, but the danger of a relapse is always there and it won’t be going away anytime soon.
How do you:
- Teach full time
- Lead a school
- Senior Lead across 2 schools
- Subject lead 3 subjects (one is Maths)
- Support colleagues
- Stay creative and interesting
- Have a young family
- Live a family life
Perhaps the key to my problem is the order of the list?
I have as many hours as everyone else and as many days. A little extra at the end of the month is great, although it won’t bring back lost days out, bedtime stories missed, bathtimes avoided (the little person’s not mine!), glasses of wine and conversation with my wife.
I think that my point here is to watch for the signs – I didn’t.
Have a break.
It isn’t enough to not work on a friday night – to sit down to watch NCIS instead and be asleep before the 1st grey fade, then shouted at for the next hour for snoring too loud.
It isn’t enough.
There must be time out – find it or you cannot and will not last the course.
If I hated my job – I would stop. The problem is, that actually, I don’t.
What have I done?
- I have a cut off time – 3am in BAD, 10pm is BETTER.
- I make better lists, ones that I can realistically complete – prioritise.
- Bedtime is sacred (again, not mine, the small one’s)
- I tweet – Hardly a hobby, but it is something I enjoy.
- I do things for me, that I want to do. Even if they are ‘work’ related – they are mine!
My advice to you?
Be careful. You do not have to commit body, mind, soul, guts and glory to your class.
Be happy, be healthy, smile, laugh and be ready for them – they’ll love you. If you aren’t, then you’ll lose them forever.
All too often I read motivational memes like:
I am a teacher. What’s your superpower?
Teaching is my superpower!
It IS a very important job – perhaps one of the most important. But you are not super human.
If I was Superman – teaching is my Kryptonite.
My downtime, rest and regeneration? That is the source of my power. That is my sun.
Like Superman, if I only have kryptonite, I become weaker and lose that power.
All superheroes have their weakness or breaking point (except He-Man, but that’s another blog!)
Know your limitations.
Remember that if you don’t look after yourself, then the job will not look after you.
The machine keeps turning.
Thanks for reading.
Please forgive errors!
This has been a tough write and sharing is even more scary.