This is my new motto for the year, courtesy of a colleague at lunch today.
All of which is to say that I am indeed kicking ass this year -- my teaching is pretty rocking, if I do say so myself, even though I'm teaching an overload through December for a colleague who's on maternity leave. I'm building new assignments based on what I've read and thought about pedagogy in the last few months, and I'm feeling real possibility about where my 9th graders in particular might go this year.
... and yet. As much as I'm kicking ass, this year is kicking my ass even more. I am flat-out exhausted most of the time, such that I'm sleeping 12+ hours every Friday night. Last week at my annual physical exam, my doctor actually tested me for mono in addition to testing my thyroid and iron levels. I was really hoping that there would be some simple explanation, and all I'd need to do is take iron pills for a while to feel better. But no. I'm quite healthy (and in fact my cholesterol levels have gone down in the past year, which is good). I'm just plain ol' worn out.
Just tonight, for example, I sent an individual email to all 43 of my 9th graders, along with writing a mid-term progress report for each of those students. And this is a project I started after dinner, because I'd been teaching and running around doing other things until then. Which is why it's now 11:45, a good two hours after I like to go to bed on a school night.
I seriously need to reexamine the standards to which I hold myself. I'm teaching more courses than anyone else in the department (courtesy of this overload, for which I'm being paid well), and yet I seem to be getting graded work back faster than most of my colleagues. And last weekend my fellow AP Lit teacher and I exchanged student essays to do some grade norming. And she wrote so much less on the essays than I did! And since commenting on essays is not an area in which more is always better -- there's definitely such a thing as counterproductive over-commenting -- I need to reassess and make sure that the feedback I'm giving is at an appropriate level.
And I'm totally going to do that reassessment ... as soon as I've rested enough to think straight. No idea when that will be. But in the meantime, I've got a new motto that I'm going to tell myself multiple times a day until I can let myself stop racing along with no pause for bit or sup.
(I just now googled that "no pause for bite or sup" phrase, wondering where I'd gotten it, and it's from the first chapter of Wind in the Willows, one of my all-time favorite books! And after all, isn't the lesson of chapter 1 that it's important not to get so caught up in one's spring-cleaning that one forgets to enjoy the good things in life? So now I'm going to brush my teeth and go to bed to dream of Moley and Ratty on the River.)