The school year follows a semi-predictable mood-curve for more teachers than me. I was tempted to say "for all teachers" but I really dislike it when people speak for me (all women, all people with bipolar, all short-haired brunettes...) so I won't.
For those teachers who share my experience...
The school year begins with a giddy, nervous sort of zippy energy. For me I am living in a slightly (or full-on) hypomanic state. There is the feeling that everything is unknown. You haven't yet met your students. (I may or may not even know what class I am teaching until the first day of school!)
This energy is not sustainable, of course, and gives way to a kind of sluggishness and despair (a sort of anhedonia in my case) that is thankfully interrupted by teacher meetings and then Thanksgiving in the fall. A chance to regroup and remind yourself that even though not everything in your classes is running as planned, you are still a decent teacher. And a worthwhile human being.
Winter is so full of holes between extended breaks and smaller holidays that it passes relatively quickly. There is a scramble for students to complete their missing homework and make up tests at the end of the semester. There is the scramble to get grades in. The lack of flexibility of scheduling close to the holidays (not unique to teaching) adding stress to family celebrations (if that's your thing).
Spring brings light and allergies (and then too much light and then lack of sleep and then manic tendencies) and the grindingly slow trudge to the end of the school year. There are so many interruptions to regular school day including MANY MANY MANY days of high stakes standardized testing. (So far in this semester my students have missed nearly 10 partial days to various tests I think... and we are looking forward to 2 more days.)
Also there are various celebrations and field trips and school picnics and home visits and final grades and packing up your classroom (especially if your school is expanding and you are probably moving classrooms).
And everyone is just SICK OF BEING AT SCHOOL. The students are ready to be done (so their work ethic is terrible.) The teachers are ready to be done (in no small part thanks to student attitudes and actions). The administrators are ready to be done (because really, look at the apathetic, stress-crazed staff they have to work with). And yet, we must persist.
Summer for me is just a nebulous time waiting for the next school year at this point. But it is at the very lease a relief, a release, a reset... A time to let go of the old year and prepare for the new.
I am kinda new (okay very new) to working full time during the school year and then NOT working in the summer. This will be my first summer doing that for the whole time. Last year I worked summer school for a number of weeks (3? 4?) and then worked as a volunteer for childcare for another week. And then came in to school for another week to work. And then I think I had one week of summer break before I needed to return for teacher workshops.
Grateful Crap: I love my job
meds 200 mg lamotrigine, certraline, (forogt to take my albuterol and fluticasone)
did not get enough sleep
kids orchestra concert. Went long. Crabby about the predictably too longness. Which I can keep to my crabby old self.
just its hard when 6 yo doesn't get home until after 9:30.
daughter is singing an impromptu post modern ode to maternal adoration titled "I love you mom" as she makes art for Mother's Day...
a day day she has been looking forward to with the same fervor as Halloween, Valentine's Day or any of the other candy related holidays.
i wonder what her expectations are.
still boringly sick with upper respiratory bug. Still taking my inhaler and allergy meds and ibuprofen.
I suspect that once I don't feel as physically crappy I will feel mentally overwhelmed at the vast quantity of things that need to get done.
school year winding down.
all for now.
shockingly not better.
Zonked out after work today.
Woke to find the current occupant had fired director of FBI.
but daughter would like to explore outer space and is developing a keen interest in meditation.
several ways to slip the bonds of this treacherous earth.
so now gonna call customer service.
because that's fun.
still sick tired and list voice. On the plus side my observation at work is done. So I just have the follow up to worry about and I'm not too worried. Things did not suck.
its dumb that I can't write when my throats hurts, as if the words are actually issuing forth from my mouth.
dont think it's mood crap.
Think its viral. In the literal sense.
I am writing this while still asleep. I have slept for twelve hours possibly or more in a row. I slept poorly last night, but have slept quite well and soundly throughout the day. Body is definitely fighting something off. Or rather fighting off what is already here.
The weather is beautiful but I am sitting in a darkened room.
It feels like I feel when I am Depressed and avoiding things, but that is just because it is the same room I would be in and it is dark and I am alone. I don't feel Sad. I just feel BLAH. Lots of coughing. Drinking water and taking inhaler helps.
I am really trying to model keeping my asthma in control for my daughter who has newly diagnosed asthma.
I just realized today why my doctor was hesitant to write the word "bipolar" on my medical chart. She didn't want it to be flagged by the insurance company as a preexisting condition. Doctors should not need to play those games, but it looks like they do and will and maybe have to.
I'm pretty sure that "mood disorder" might be picked up as code by insurance folk, but maybe not.
Soon I will be done with the last observation of the year. I would be more anxious about it, but I am too lethargic and tired.
I realized this past week that I have missed more than two rehearsals for GSW and that perhaps I should not play in the concert. Which would suck. But I have another conflict for our final rehearsal and I feel quite terrible about it. It will not be a disaster if I cannot perform. I will come back in the fall.
My sons are both having an orchestra concert this week. The final one at this particular school for elderboy. Can't miss it. I tried to tell myself that I could, but I really can't. I feel terrible about missing rehearsal and I would feel terrible about missing the concert. But I would feel worse about the concert in the long run. So that is that.
Missed rehearsal this past week due to mini-migraine that kicked off this dreadful cold that WILL NOT BECOME BRONCHITIS (nor pneumonia).
We'll see what the consensus is on whether or not they want me at the concert. Ugh. Stress.
Gotta look at some work stuff now. Even though I try not to do that from home often. My time at school this last week was brief (due to hospitalizations of daughter) and scattered (due to sickness of me).
Grateful Crap: antibiotics
meds (200mg lamotrigine, ibuprofin, ceterizine, albuterol, fluticasone)
Went to a conference on what they are calling SLIFE students (students with limited or interrupted formal education) which is the students I work with. Definition under Minnesota Department of Ed has these students as entering the country for the first time after 6th grade and being 2 grades behind their peers in academic skills.
Most of my students are many more than two years behind.
Glad I went to the conference. The most interesting thing to come out of it was a talk by Tea Rozman Clark on her project: Greencard Voices.
The have done interviews of students in many different places and have put together books of student interviews from Minneapolis and Fargo and soon to release a book from Saint Paul.
Interestingly enough they have also done a series of interview in Willmar, which is where my dad grew up. They were asked by a group in Willmar to come out and do the project to help integrate new immigrants into the community.
I was pretty wiped out after the conference so I am cheating and posting this a day late.
Daughter is feeling much better post antibiotics so it seems likely that she had bacterial pneumonia.
Grateful Crap: that I was not a SLIFE student
meds 200 mg lamotrigine, ibuprofin, zyrtec, albuterol and fluticasone
lots of water
Quite ill... went to bed with bad cough and exhaustion.
it is not good we can accidentally delete everything with a single touch of a button. This might be the downfall of logging on my phone. I just accidentally erased to entire blog posts while attempting to record this.
here is the short version of what I said before: I was interviewed for a podcast about Nami Minnesota. The episode will air next Wednesday. I will let you know for sure when I know more. I need to remember to get a picture of myself so they can put it with the post.
I ended up talking a lot about my blog and importance of this tool in my treatment/recovery.
Quaker, teacher, parent,