Functionality: approximately 50%.
Social interaction: only when necessary.
Need for sleep: +50% and whenever possible.
There’s three days to go! Three days!
And oh my word I’m tired.
Now before I am hoisted by my own petard here – I am the first to confess I am not as tired as I was in teaching.
I would describe the approaching end of term as a teacher as the life blood being drained quickly from you, whilst you’re running a marathon. Outside of the classroom, I’d describe it as running full-pelt into a wall.
The end of term slump begins when I realise I start forgetting things, and feel a slight urge to cry when someone asks me about a social event. Usually extrovert me can’t remember where I’m going next, so I resort to only recalling the next thing I need to do, resulting in varying degrees of success in those tasks. This happened in teaching too..mostly with less success.
The only way forward is to resort to a countdown chart – much like an advent calendar but without the chocolate.
The plus point of teaching was that it was possible to spend much of the working day embroiled in a play rehearsal reminiscent of Spielberg’s latest, and perhaps take the class outside to read for half an hour.
In the city, we have taken the occasional meeting outside; the major downside being some incredibly distracting wildlife. This is better than the time we went outside to find incredibly distracting human life, probably being created at that very moment, in the park instead.
Educating outside the classroom demands a level of energy right to the end of the term that is now being summoned from the depths of I-know-not-where. Of course class teaching takes energy – but I feel the need to throw the same level of enthusiasm into my current role as I did at the start of term, whereas when you’ve all been waning together over the past few weeks, there’s a collective understanding. I’m physically tired, and mentally quite exhausted – but emotionally fairly intact. My temper is at its traditionally ‘short fused’ stage for this point in the term, but I am certainly not on the brink of utter collapse as I was in teaching.
Of course the main difference is that come Thursday, while I could have a day off – I won’t be. My holidays are booked; I’m looking forward to them; but I’ll still be in work over the summer. The pace might slow down a little, but there’s also space to think, reflect and create. There’s no drawer labels to laminate, or walls to back…but there is planning to prepare and plenty to learn.
I’m looking forward to the change of pace, but even without the holiday season, I don’t miss the collapse. Nurturing 30+ small children, also short-tempered, tired, and approaching change through a hot and sweaty final few weeks takes some considerable skill. I still have it somewhere, but I prefer dragging my all-singing, all-dancing act out for just an hour at a time: somehow it’s less exhausting.
I think that I will always be a maker of the countdown chart and think in the idea of ‘school years’, but I shall never begrudge a 6 week summer holiday. However tired I may feel, it is nothing to the relentless pursuit of education that teachers employ; they have most definitely earned those days off. They have run their marathon, yet will run again with enthusiasm in a few short weeks time. I meanwhile, am three short days away from remembering my name, and the many emails I’ve forgotten to respond to in the last few weeks.
To misquote Mrs Bennett – “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a teacher, inside or outside of the classroom, looks forward to summer.”