Beginning to feel burnt out again. Just want winter break to come. I think I just want some downtime to rethink these responsibilities I’ve taken on and make sure I can keep my commitments.
I was thinking of my first year of teaching and how I just wasn’t someone who you could trust to handle the work that was given. And after writing a bunch about the first year experience over the past weeks, I realize I have so much guilt over why I was rightfully let go by my old school school, and that I have been working this past year and a half mainly for redemption. I want to push to be that committed person and trustworthy person. I don’t want to see myself as that depressed mess who made excuses. I was that, and while I know that part of me will stay with me and always be a part of me, I also know that I want to be better than that, for my coworkers, for my students, for myself. While I was also overwhelmed that first year of teaching and wasn’t truly certified in special education (Teach For America will do that to you), and while I was also in a new city that was also overwhelming, I also am pushing myself to reveal my own role in my failure to teach my students my first year, to be that committed person, to be trustworthy, to be useful, worthy to teach.
What helped was actually being able to sit back and reflect, and not keep doing, doing, doing. I have been meeting a lot of teachers lately who have been beating themselves up about not working every waking minute. For me, that was another part of the exhaustion, the burnout, the messing up, the anxiety, the freezing that made me paralyzed and not get the work done, the not wanting to wake up and face my failures, being late to school when I was in that state, the crying, the search for supports but not having time or energy to carve that out. I am tearing up just thinking about that time. I was just the worst version of myself, hiding away, thinking if I avoided things then they would disappear, they would just not have to get done. And when you’re in that state, you are a shell of yourself and can’t get things done. Which triggers another spiral and another spiral toward your inevitable doom, which you know is coming with the improvement plans, your coworkers and admin giving you mixed messages, etc.
ANYWAYS, got lost there. What helped was a summer to think, to realize my faults, my strengths, build up, redeem myself. And it’s so hard to reflect when you’re in the middle of it all, when I know myself well enough to know I self-criticize myself most of anyone. My admin at my current school are happy with me now and even commented at my evaluation that I self-criticize too much. I just hold high expectations for myself, but as I learn every day with my students, if those expectations are too high or low, those expectations can hurt you so profoundly and make you quiver in self-defeat. And I don’t want my students to feel that- I know I don’t either.
I have high aspirations for myself as a teacher. I have to keep growing, making my craft and my artfulness better, learning from the career teachers around me, ask questions, be proactive, while promoting self-wellness. I am in love with myself, and I have to keep that relationship up. It’s just hard when you also are having that relationship constantly with your work, too. Being the person I want me to be is hard, hard work.