Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Goodbye Zeal....Hello despondency?

Every year at the end of May or beginning of June teachers start to feel the weight....the weight of a year of lessons plans, tests, projects...the weight of student emotions, state requirements,
administrative demands, parent inquiries.....just weight.  We're tired and irritable and have virtually nothing left in the tank.

My dear friend and retiring teacher, John Hopkins, cautions us against trusting the despondency of June. (He also cautions us against the Zeal of September!) Normally my posts are about the action in our classrooms. But this post is unique in that today I feel the weight...the weight of a year of teaching seniors not only Pyschology but reassuring them that they will get into college, that they will do well on the SAT and the AP exams, that they will not disappoint their parents if they do not get into the first choice college. I feel the weight of senior capstone projects....and lost books....letters of recommendation and college essays.
Today my senior students are not in class...they are at graduation rehearsal.  I sit here and my classroom is empty. I am happy to have a moment to reflect but I am sad because I will miss this group terribly. They are a unique mix of smarts, humor and beauty that only comes around every 5-10 years.

But I still feel the weight of despondency.  I say to myself I can't imagine a month more of school...I feel down and out at times. This is a tough job! Those who don't do it, don't understand. Along with grading and planning, we take our students home with us after the day is over, thinking about how we can help them. What can I do to make this a better lesson? How can I push these students to reach their potential? If I could only get that new program to help this student? The emotional weight of this alone is enough to drive the most caring people out of the profession.

But then I remember my dear colleague's message, "Trust not the zeal of September, nor the despondency of June."  Every teacher has a touch of this despondency....the key is to think ahead to the zeal of September.  I WILL get that zeal back! It will come back in full force...I will plan lessons with gusto...I will serve on committees.... I will advise the yearbook staff with precision.

I will teach with ZEAL!

But until then....I will rest, rejuvinate and spend time with family and friends while I await said zeal!

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