Now that the academic year is over, I will finally have time to myself; to get back to my roots, become grounded in myself again, and have time to practice yoga everyday- yay! But, the part for which I am most excited…NOT SETTING AN ALARM!!! I am not a morning person.
Let me elaborate – I love the morning. The cool breeze, beautiful sunrise, enjoying the peace and quiet with my breakfast and a good book. I do not, however, enjoy being awakened by an annoying noise. Change the tone, you may say…I have on numerous occasions. It is merely the concept of having to wake up before my body is ready, feeling rushed to get out the door by a certain time and in my classroom with a smile ready to welcome my students even if I am having an absolutely dismal start to my morning.
I enjoy to start my day with exercise, reading a few chapters from a book, perhaps even a morning nap! Instead, with teaching, my day starts early and ends late leaving me feeling unaccomplished in my personal life. By the time I get home after work I am utterly exhausted. Not physically because, let’s face it, I teach math, I am not running marathons. However, mentally my exhaustion level surpasses anything I have ever experienced – even during my time at university – even when I was slaving over my honor’s thesis project I never felt this level of exhaustion and defeat.
Therefore, I started thinking about why I have been feeling so overwhelmed by day’s end. Here I am, submitting my final semester grades, packing everything up, getting the end of the year paperwork completed – and I feel as though I accomplished nothing. My students, sure they learned something, but nothing compared to what I was told they needed to master. My gradebook looks like a natural disaster hit; half of my students who failed, failed because they refused to do any work – even extra-credit, or simply guessing on a multiple choice exam. That in itself makes me feel like a failure because I was unable to motivate them to even try. This, my friends, is why I am utterly exhausted and defeated.
Taking on their failure every day, or lack of effort, as a reflection of my teaching and my effectiveness brought me down. The sad thing is, I feel guilty about “washing my hands” of the grade they earned. I look back and wonder what I could have done differently or how I could have reached them on a personal level or helped them discover the benefit of math, or even work ethic in general. At the end of the day I went to bed frustrated with my students and frustrating myself agonizing over what to do to encourage my student’s success.
This last week I was done. I gave up. Literally threw my hands in the air and gave up on myself and my students. I lost my cool in my classroom. Frustrated with all of the opportunities I had provided, and now…now when “push-comes-to-shove” they think they deserve my undivided attention, want to turn in late work from the beginning of the semester and retake tests, all with merely 3 days left leaving me swamped with work to grade and no time for myself. I had so much to offer the entire year but I wasted all of my energy on them when they did not care. Now that they do care, I have no energy or patience left to give.