Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Guilt

For the first time in 21 years of teaching, I have no work to do over the summer. I taught summer school my first ten years, and have had consulting jobs every summer since. Last summer was my first real "work-free" summer, but I brought home tons of stuff to do, just like I always do. This summer I made a conscious decision to leave it all in my classroom. Of course, I had plenty of projects I could have brought home this summer, but I chose not to.

So now, my summer guilt has changed. I used to always feel guilty because I brought home so much to do. It was always like a cloud hanging over me. Tons of work to do. And I never finished it all. Now, I have this guilty feeling because I didn't bring any work home. I guess I can't win, huh?

Why is it that so many of us in this profession never feel like we do enough? You know how your days are when you leave school. The question is never, "Am I done?", but "Where should I stop for today?" And let's not forget the bag of good intentions; the shoulder bags of work you bring home at night and on weekends - always more than you could possibly do. More guilt.

When is it enough? Does the guilt go away? Is there something wrong with me? I strongly believe that if you ever feel you know it all as a teacher you need to leave the profession. There is always more to learn, ways to improve, and surprises that await. But this is different - this feeling that I am never doing enough, that I should always be doing more.

I am wondering how the current situation will affect me and my "enough" feelings. As the budget crisis worsens and worsens, we are being asked to do more and more with less and less. The job seems to get more and more impossible the longer I do it. What is the answer? Is there an answer? What are your feelings?

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you. I brought some math stuff to do and never touched it. I think the maybe it is a good thing to really let myself rest. That is what I am going to try to do anyway.