Sunday, December 04, 2011

Know Your Limits

By the time Friday rolled around I was lagging, I guess it's a post-Thanksgiving phenomenon but it seemed like an endless week.  I'm not proud to admit that I yelled at one class on Friday when they were floundering.  I tried to do some open ended experimentation (which I will share once I've tried again with my other class tomorrow) and they weren't having it.  Whether I should have given more structure, support or time is yet to be determined, but getting mad is never the answer.  At least I recognized that I was getting grumpy and spent my prep block coloring bubble letters and hanging more squares in our triangle quilt (I'll share that once it's done as well).  I also forewarned my last class that the well of patience had run dry and we spent the beginning of class brainstorming what an A student looks like so they could be sure to be on their best behavior (which enabled me to be on mine).

As soon as the last student left after school (he stayed an hour on Friday, and he was one of the ones I was mad at earlier - can't stay mad at dedication like that!) I called my friend who I knew would still be in his classroom and announced it was time to leave the building.  Several hours at a coffee shop with a good friend, mint hot chocolate, crepes and parcheesi (that's a game, not a food) and I was on my way to recovery.

The rest of the weekend I did nothing.  I don't just mean no school work, but all day yesterday and today I did absolutely nothing productive.  I lounged, played games, napped and read.  I might break out a bit of grading this evening, but no guarantees.  I'm not worried, I know all the work will get done.  And I'd much rather have an hour of productive work tomorrow than 3 hours of not getting much done but feeling like I should be today.

Why am I telling you about my failures Friday and totally boring weekend?  Because I worry that everyone is running themselves into the ground.  We're not yet halfway through the year and we shouldn't be sprinting toward June with the knowledge that we can recover in the summer.  Cold and flu season is coming, for many the holiday season means extra stresses and December break is always too busy and too short.  Stop, take a break and give yourself some time off.  I always declare Saturday my school sabbath, but this weekend that needed to extend into a longer break.  You know you could teach all of your classes without any prep on any given day- sure it wouldn't be a great lesson, but your students would learn something.  So, cut yourself a break, do whatever it is that you find rejuvenating and know your limits.


  1. I thought I was the only one who felt like it was a long week..... thanks!

  2. I'm not sure exactly what it was about last week, but I definitely hit my limit. Glad to hear there are others reaching that point as well. Thanks for stopping by!

    Also, sorry to anyone who clicked through expecting a post on calculus, I'm just a geometry and algebra 1 girl this year!

  3. This is my goal in life right now. I've been going 200 miles an hour for 2 and a half years (I took one full week off this summer, just one.) All of a sudden, I've started looking around and wondering where all my friends went and if the way I've been teaching is healthy for either me or my students. I'm a better teacher when I'm relaxed. The biggest problem is while I relax, I worry about all the stuff that needs to get done but isn't getting done and the only way to relieve the stress this worry causes is by working...

  4. You need a hobby that fully distracts your brain from work! I crochet but sometimes that isn't enough to completely occupy my thoughts so I turn Netflix on too. Or, you know, you could hang out with real people, I hear that works well.


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