I have only taken a couple of days off this year, and they were for good reasons. One was due to a family emergency, and the other was for some training and/or planning session I had to attend. I don’t feel as though I can take a day off for mental health this year. I have too many needy individuals who require the presence of the Ironclad Woman to behave properly. There is at least one needy person in each hour of the school day. Neediness ranges from those who don’t care about school or themselves, those who won’t do the work, those who have emotional problems, those who want to be handheld over every little step, those who need to stop having fits like a toddler, those who need my eyes on them as a reminder to do their work, and those whose parents are negligent. There are more, but this is enough.
I say no rest for the Wicked because at the end of the day, I feel like the Wicked Witch. “You can’t use a dictionary during a vocabulary quiz.”
“You can’t wait two minutes to go to the restroom? I’ve been waiting two hours.”
“Stop touching each other in the hallway.”
“Give her back her pencil.”
“Sit down. Turn around. Do your own work. Mind your own business.”
“Walk down the hallways.”
“Are you telling me the truth?”
“What do you think you are doing? What possessed you to do —? When have I ever allowed you to —-? The fifth of Never is when.”
“Read your book.”
“Pick up your trash.”
“Too much chatter that does not matter.”
“I have an ARD this week?”
“What do you need?”
“Whose phone went off? Bring it to me.”
“Spit your gum out.”
“Are you mumbling under your breath?”
“Are you speaking to me like that?”
“Wish granted. Go to ISS. And take your things with you.”
“I want to hear a ‘Yes, ma’am’ and see your feet moving.” After doing this all day long, it can be exhausting.
I encourage young teachers to take a day for themselves after creating enough work to keep the Looney Tunes Road Runner busy all class period. I have a “packet of death” to complete. No one wants it, but it may be used during the last week of school. I am keeping the lions at bay by keeping them busy, busy, busy. We have sixteen full instructional days and two days of STAAR testing for our sixth graders. And I cannot relent, let go, or quit. I have taught while sick. I have taught with migraines. I have taught with little sleep. I have taught in good weather, bad weather, and in a blackout. So when the weekend comes, I actually need to stop thinking about what’s next. I need to stop feeling guilty that I didn’t get everything finished by 4:00 on Friday afternoon. Telling me that it will wait until Monday means my pile grows exponentially. At the end of the school year, June 1, I plan to walk out of the building with my head held high because I finished. I may sleep like a dead woman after our teacher work day on Saturday, June 2, but I will know that finally I can rest. Without another list of “to-do’s” coming tomorrow. Even the Ironclad Woman needs to take off her armor and rest.