I’ve been having nightmares lately. The dreams consist of unruly students, chaos schedules, being late, missing appointments, and being unprepared. In my waking hours, I’m perfectly calm. My subconscious is screaming at me to take notice. I’m going back into the classroom after 3 years of being an instructional coach and I’m FREAKING out.
In the daylight, my monsters disappear but with so many nightmares they creep in my thoughts. What are my monsters? Below are the monsters of many teachers, you may identify with them.
- Meetings jammed into every spare moment causing me to plan into the wee hours of the morning.
- Another new idea, strategy, or curriculum that I MUST implement today
- Having to be on my A-game ALL the time
- Planning for hours with colleagues when I can plan alone in ¼ of the time
- Not having time to do what I want
- Spending 8 hours a day with other people and no alone time
Those are the things I fear about teaching that haunt my nightmares. I’m never alone, always have to be “on”, and not able to do what I want with my classroom. Those are very real fears. But they’re not fears, really.
When you were a child and you thought there was a monster under the bed, in the closet, or hiding under your pillow, your mom or dad turned the lights on demonstrating there were no monsters.
The monsters only existed in the dark. Let’s shine some light on those monsters.
Meetings. Yes, there are meetings but there are at the most 3 a week (2 during plan time and one after school). That leaves four free days after school, and 3 during plan time. The majority of plan time is free.
New strategies or curriculum. New concepts and theories are constantly being introduced into education. Forward thinking districts often attempt to incorporate the latest research. Try it out and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, don’t use it the following year. If it’s curriculum, you don’t have choice what you teach but you do in how you teach it. Revel in that autonomy.
The A-game. No one expects you to be perfect. Period.
Planning for hours. Colleagues can be fun. Relax and enjoy them.
Not having time to do what you want. Take time to teach what you love. Have fun with the kids. Enjoy their sweetness, beauty, and bring things into your classroom you enjoy.
Spending time with other people all day. Find time to be alone during the day to re-charge. Would you rather be all alone? That would be boring (and lonely)! Connect with those around you. The more you connect and not try to fight being with others, the more joyful those relationships will feel.
My nightmares may return but at least in the morning I’ll be able to meet them with the light. All monsters shed their scariness in the light of day.