I wonder if I would have read anything on this blog and considered it helpful when I was at my stressed-out-teacher worst? Back then I’m not even sure I knew I was stressed out. I think I assumed I was fine. I mean – I felt stress – all the telltale signs of it – but it never occurred to me to see that as something negative even though it felt negative. I was just doing the daily grind of what every teacher does, flavoured by my own teaching ideals. I just assumed since I loved being a teacher this must just be how it was supposed to feel.
It never occurred to me to question the job itself and how it’s done. ‘That’s just how teaching is’ is the message I heard. In June – after the bulk of the year is done, reporting is done and you’re basically just holding the kids at bay until the holidays – I’d have a giant crying meltdown once I got home. I’d always assumed this was normal.
Until I realized it happened every June. After my fourth June, it also happened at the end of August – right when you’re supposed to be refreshed and enthusiastic to start another year. That’s when I knew I was stressed out. Stress wasn’t the key – unhappiness was. It was the key that unlocked the door or my denial and placed me on a path to wellness. Everyone has their key. My friend got a big tumour (luckily benign) – that was her key. Until teaching becomes a profession where teacher wellness is approached proactively, rather than reactively; until unreasonable workload is considered a problem and not a norm – we need to be on the lookout for our key and open the door for ourselves to wellbeing.