Today is Saturday and Thank God it is.
I will preface what I am about to write by saying this- I really love my job. I feel like it is not a job, it is actually a calling. I know that many people would argue that "good teachers" can be made and I believe that as well. But I actually believe that I was born and meant to be doing this job...
But after a week like this week, I wonder... is there more for me?
How long will I be able to continue to do this job?
I've heard the warnings and the stories- "special ed. teachers burn out quickly." I've heard 5 years, 10 years, 15 years... And I always believed that those people were a little weak. I mean, this is the best job in the world. These kids... these kids are amazing. They make me smile and they say funny things, and every success is worth celebrating! And I mean cheering, clapping, and yelling horraaaaaay type celebrating...
But what about all the other stuff?
I keep hearing business people (and other "non-teachers") say that it must be nice to work 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, with summers off.
Riiiiiight. You'd think it would be nice.
But I've already written a big blog about what I do, how hard I work, how much I work, how I don't take days off... So, I won't do that again.
But, I will say... THIS JOB IS HARD.
Staff meetings are hard. PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) are worthwhile, but hard. They're hard when you feel like no one in the room can possibly understand what you do. Sure, they all do grades, they all grade papers (though maybe they would have less grading to do if they stopped giving so many papers), they all deal with behaviors and challenges and lots of kids and parents. But can they really understand?
Can they really understand that in 39 days of school, one parent has written me 33 emails, 25+ handwritten notes, and called 5+ times? And our district has a policy of responding within 24 hours.
There's communication. With parents. With service providers like OT, PT, SLP, Therapeutic horseback riding instructors, and Music Therapists. With special education coordinators. With specialists. With outside/private therapists. With home program coordinators. With SST3 staff. With homeroom teachers and principals and special education aides.
And that's just the beginning.
There's paperwork. Not grading the papers you hand out, but actual legal documents that must be completed within a time frame. IEPs. IEP progress reports. Report Cards. Doctors' forms about ADHD. ETRs. MFE reports. Alternate Assessments.
You get the point.
So how long can you go on like this?
I turned down a date last week because I didn't have the time to go...
How do I separate my calling from my life?
How do I refresh and recharge? And will I need to refresh and recharge every 39 days this year???
And I just need to know... do you get tired... exhausted...
And do you feel guilty for feeling this way?
Because I do.