Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heaven Help Me

One quarter down, three to go. It isn't with happiness that I say this, but rather dread. It's been a helluva time, these last 9 weeks. What it comes down to is that I simply don't enjoy working 12 hours each school day, plus going in on the weekends. This really isn't how I want to live my life. It isn't good for me or for my family. I can't even say that the money is worth it, because it really isn't. Teacher salaries in Arizona are particularly pathetic.

Let me share a bit of the back story. Last spring I decided to apply for an additional position at my school as a mentor teacher. Well, I got it, however, it came with a grade level change, up to fourth grade. That change did not make me happy, in fact, it caused many tears. However, I felt backed in to a corner so I went along with it. Let's just say that now I have an even clearer idea of why nobody ever wants to work with this particular team.

My stresses this last quarter have come not from my new position as a mentor teacher, but from having to be a 4th grade teacher. Learning a new curriculum takes tons of time. I'm chronically short on time. Learning to deal with a new team, or at least this new team, is a royal pain in my ass and I feel my blood pressure rise each time one team member begins to speak.

I've clearly made it know to my principal that it was really lousy, and totally mean, to give a new grade level assignment on top of the mentor job responsibilities. In response she tells me that I'm doing a great job. Well, that doesn't make it any easier or better, and in fact, tells me that I need to do a crappier job so that I won't have to do this again next year!

So, now that I'm well into the second week of fall break I feel like I can finally begin to think about what to do. First of all, I need to set some time limits here. I cannot continue to work 12 hour days plus at least a full day on the weekend. I'm going just need to leave school at 4:30 four days a week. No more staying until 5:50 and then dragging work home. There will be lots of things that likely just won't get done this quarter. At this point I'm ok with that.

I've also decided to go back on my anti-anxiety medication. I went off of it during the summer, and hoped to be able to keep things in check with physical exercise and relaxation exercises. Sadly, this just hasn't happened on it's own, and I haven't been able to make it happen. So, though it doesn't make me happy, I think the best thing is that I go back on it. I'm so wound up that I am incapable of relaxing. I can always go off of it next summer and hope that next school year I'm in a better situation. Hey, maybe once the medication kicks in I just won't care about all that doesn't get done!

In the meantime I'm going to try to enjoy my last days of of fall break. I'm taking Andy today to get his picture taken in his Halloween costume!


  1. I hope you can make some changes because working those kind of hours is not healthy, let alone not fun, nor good for your family. It's not too late for a career change in your 40s. I've had several friends make drastic changes in order to be happier. Best wishes and keep us posted on what you come up with.

  2. Talk about stress!! My brother is a teacher (well, unemployed teacher) so I know of the many "fun" political situations teams, etc. can be. Also, love how you are "rewarded" for being a mentor by having to take on what I have heard is the most challenging grade in elementary. (I know as a parent of a 4th grader, I wanted to tear my hair out!)