So a few weeks ago I sat in a staff meeting all nervous about my last year CSEC results, well not mine, not really. I hadn’t, after all written any exams. I had however, pulled my hair out at the root, planning lessons, planning experiments, meeting deadlines, giving extra lessons and so on. I had given up weekends, and evenings and countless hours that should have been spent with a glass of wine and a pair of strong arms wrapped around me. Time spent almost in tears in the staff room, while on holiday, and in the Principles office, because those same students weren’t taking me seriously.
I was nervous because despite all that, all my prayers, my hopes and my bald spot, I knew thanks to a little birdy, that the results weren’t great. I sat and I listened, sucking in what I perceived to be, judgement. I had failed, not that the certificates in my bag with my own grades didn’t say different, my worth from the time I said I would show up, was based on the performance and motivation of others.
I listened as colleagues received thanks and accolades for work well done. Hours way past the closing of school, I’m talking wee into the early morning hours, spent doing data entry and such. In my mind I pictured the classroom I admired most in the school, with its well made charts and teacher sponsored equipment, and mentally kicked myself. Would I ever have that kind of cash to spend on my job? That kind of time to dedicate to my job? That kind of tireless praiseable energy to give to my job? Dammit I wanted to know that that happy glint in my boss’s eye was because of me.
Then I caught myself. What the hell was I talking/thinking about? I needed a drink or six.
I looked around me at the folks paying rapt attention in the crowd around me and wondered if I was alone in the thought. Maybe at heart I’m just a selfish person to value free time and the ability to raise my kids, and grow my marriage. To feel, for all my efforts, that I had accomplished something. My students after all are not measured in terms of me, and while I love being a part of their success, it’s theirs.
It also occurred to me at this point that my boss had to be the best one in the business. I love him dearly I must say,. and not because he hypnotized me either. He’s actually really good at his job, very respectable and very down to earth.
But good traits of our leader notwithstanding, we were all really really stressed out people, trying to be even more stressed out!!!! on Purpose!!!!!
The question is, should this state of frazzle be something to aspire to? Knowing my capability, responsibilities, efforts and circumstance, should I be striving to spend the same time and cash as my, also very awesome, colleagues?
The answer is no. No I should not. As a matter of fact at the end of glass of wine number 4, I was wondering if they should have. The same way my family would miss me, wouldn’t theirs miss them? Would their situations and circumstances not be made better by being able to focus those same resources on them? Would we all not be better off if we could function within the confines of our specified time of work and provided equipment?
We sure as hell would complain less, be less stressed, in my case have long, flowing, luxurious hair, and few less pounds stress fat.
My point is, this, while yes we get praised for our above and beyond efforts, and yes there are times when these things might be necessary for whatever unforeseen circumstance, but not on a regular. The road to success really shouldn’t be paved with broken households, neglected kids and spouses and a complete lack of personal fulfillment. No, No it shouldn’t.
And it’s not just teaching either. This misguided idea that we are slaves to our work has spread across all professions. One only need look on the Facebook or the Twitter to see droves of zombie friends lamenting their own struggle. Using hashtags like badges of honor, because you know the realer the struggle the more life cred we got, or something.
Nope this is not a rant, this is a declaration, that I will not work harder but I will work smarter. I will use all the opportunities/technology/aptitude afforded me to trailer my life into a well oiled efficient machine, which will not keep my away from my family, genetic or bloggosphereical. I will learn to laugh again and not the kind that comes from being the only alternative to tears. Belly laughs people, deep and bone jarring. I’m gonna do that pin-up shoot, even if it only graces the pages of my bedroom walls, and I’m gonna finish that book because it’s fun.
Ok so maybe I am ranting a little, but I’m also smiling genuinely without any hint of sadness for the first time in a long time. So maybe a little ranting is what the body needed to get the fingers pumping. Plus I’m all ranted out now.
Thanks for reading. I’ll see you tomorrow I promise.