This past semester was difficult…really difficult. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to teach without the feedback from students…teaching into a void of seeming nothingness. Teaching and really getting nothing back. It was weird and, at times, really felt like a waste of time. I began to feel the impact in November and I decided to take a step back from writing and Twitter. It was all I could do to be motivated enough to teach everyday. I just didn’t have the mental energy to invest in anything else, really. And, for the first time in a very long time, I didn’t feel like trying to get better as an educator. Normally, I constantly seek out new studies, strategies, and books to read in an attempt to improve instruction in my classroom.
But, this semester, I was stagnant.
At first, this really bothered me. I am not one to give up or be content with just being okay at something. I want to push on and be better. But, I just didn’t have it in me to continue investing in getting better when I wasn’t sure what better looked like/felt like in the virtual/face-to-face/hybrid environment. In a way, I gave up on my development and my professional development. But, I had to. If I didn’t, I’m afraid I would’ve majorly burned out; making things really bad for myself, my students, and my family.
That being said (or written), I survived with a mostly positive attitude. The step away from social media and development was the correct decision for me. I was even able to invest in my health a little more while I was ‘gone’. I got into running while I was in college playing soccer. I was pretty decent at the odd weekend 5k/10k and even worked my way up to a couple of marathons. However, after my wife and I decided to start our family, priorities changed, and running wasn’t far enough up the list. Now that my kiddos are old enough to basically exist without constant parental guidance, I’m getting back at it and loving the running. So, in a weird sort of way, I guess there was at least one positive during this past semester.
Why am I telling you all of this? I’m not really sure, to tell the truth. I’ve been absent for a couple of months on Twitter and my blog and I’m just feeling like I want to step back into those worlds. I guess this is an easy blog article to write and I somewhat feel like I owe it to my readers to let them know where I’ve been (Also, I trust you, the reader. I know that you’ll ‘get it’ and more than understand what I’m trying to say). To say that I’ve missed the professional interactions with you is a fact, but I also know that I needed the time away. And like I stated earlier, at first I felt guilty for what may be seen as a selfish decision to pump the brakes on devoting my planning time and hours after my kids went to bed to reading and development. But, I soon realized that it wasn’t selfish…it was necessary for professional and personal survival. I’m actually quite proud of myself for pausing and placing my personal well-being in a place of priority. Honestly, it’s not something I thought I would ever be able to do without enduring a mountain of guilt…I think this is something all educators probably experience and understand.
I’m really hoping the new semester has a different energy and that I’m not worn down by teaching in 2021. I’ve got some good blog posts in draft form that I want/need to finish and I really miss hunting down interesting research articles on classroom practice. I miss the pursuit of creating the most effective and efficient classroom. Mostly, though, I miss having a classroom full of kids. I miss lecturing, instructing, and classroom discussions that I’ve found give me so much energy and encouragement. I can’t wait to get back to all of that…when it’s safe.
Sorry that I’ve been absent. I hope it’s excused.