I'm not trying to be a matyr here but I am pretty tired at the moment. I know that my blogging has slowed to a minimal trickle and with one school day to go, it's just the effects of a very full on year taking its toll. For the first time, I actually felt envious and resentful towards those colleagues who seemed to have the time to go home and watch mindless television shows, who can afford to leave their laptops at school and who seem to gracefully swimming while I have felt like my head is barely above water.
There have been a few things that have made 2009 a challenge and I am coming away from those experiences as a better educator and hopefully, a better person. Even after over twenty years in this job, I am still figuring out what I can hope to influence in any given student's attitude and achievement, and that external factors like family and culture can be massive thick walls against which to bang one's head.
Part of the heightened stress has been taking on Year Sevens for the first time since 2004. I had forgotten how dramatic a transition adolescence is, how powerful peer group pressure can be, how self absorbed thirteen year olds can be and how resistant to change this particular age group can be. This burden has been shared by my teaching buddies (Kim and Maria) and when we look back over the year, it is with an interesting mix of accomplishment and frustration that we view our journey. Just this final term has seen preparation for our School Open Morning blend into the time sapping report writing ritual that ebbed into preparations for the Year Seven Graduations and trying to wrap the year up in a positive way.
I've been missing a lot of stuff lately - haven't noticed the Edublogs Awards at all, still to look at any of the posts from the K12 Online Conference and still to fulfil my obligations to Christian Long's Alice Project.
So, I'm feeling pretty washed out, in need of a break, some time family time and to rediscover some personal joy in my online connections. Maybe even some time to read that book I got for my birthday back in July.
One more day.
Understand the sentiments totally.
> how resistant to change this particular age group can be
Huh. Part of why I like teaching 7th is that I find this group to be the most responsive of all. Too responsive sometimes – it’s like driving a high performance race car with the throttle stuck wide open.
It is very tiring, but I love that they are going through so many changes that I can actually affect how those changes happen. My experience with older students is that they’re stuck however you get them. If you’re lucky they’re good, but if they’re not you’re in for a long rough year.
Hi, Allanah, NZ schools still have another week to go, hey? I definitely know that I’m not alone with these sentiments!!
MrK, your analogy is one of the best I’ve heard yet. As Year 7 is the last year of primary school here in South Australia, there are student expectations about how their final year at the top of the heap should pan out. This year has taught me that these kids don’t necessarily like the teachers making changes to those expectations as they are already experiencing enough change as it is.
Nice to see I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed, Graham. Keep your head up, brother, and enjoy the break.
I feel this too, but still have a week to go!
Hi Graham. Couldn’t have put it better myself. As a coordinator & Year 7 teacher, like you, I feel thoroughly drained at the moment. I confess to having pangs of envy these last few weeks as I’ve noticed some classes winding down whilst our year level has definitely been winding up! No sooner were reports finished than we were into end of year concert, rapidly followed by graduation. And for some unknown reason those computers just didn’t respect that and still kept having having their tantrums!!
Enjoy your break Graham, you deserve it.
I hope I represent lots of parents who really do appreciate all the work you all do for our children. A BIG THANKYOU! Children intuitively know when someone is genuine and from the heart. Enjoy your holidays knowing that you certainly made a lasting impression on my daughter and that she will miss you next year….don’t be surprised if you get a visitor every now and again!!!
Perhaps you need a laugh to cheer you up! You mention Nancy White in an earlier post; I recently had the pleasure of participating in a workshop with Nancy and then listening to her Keynote at the Learning Technologies 09 Conference at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast QLD (yes someone had to go!!.
The following link to Youtube is to a 30sec “flipumentary” that I created with a Flip Video camera and which was voted the winning entry!! In it I refer to Nancy as ChocoNancy – her Twitter ID, she is a real chocolate nut(is that a pun?)and often refers to chocolate in her presentations. She is a lot of fun and has some great thoughts about online communities and networks. The pirates referred to in the script were all of us who participated in a game both real and virtual that ran throughout the conference and was designed to get some face to face networking happening among the delegates.
Overall it was a great conference and one I would highly recommend for 2010. As you can see from the video, the food was pretty darn good too!!
I should be responding individually to all of these excellent comments but I have been de-compressing my brain, so to speak. Here’s my responses to you wonderful folks.
@Darren. An old friend of mine once said that if you want something done, you ask a busy person. Without fail, all of us edubloggers connecting online are all typically educators trying to make a difference, to work out what is best for our students, what is the best way to leverage all of the incredible tools at our fingertips without overlooking what is still important learning from our past. So, while I’m heartened that you share my feelings, I am not surprised that you too feel the frenetic pace of your role in learning.
@Penny. Here I was thinking that only South Australia ran this late in the year down under. Primary schools definitely never wind down; things just tend to wind up. I often feel a bit lost straight after school ends as well, like I should be doing some other important task in the evenings instead of actually unwinding and doing something relaxing.
@Andrea. I really appreciate your willingness to engage in this space and I know of your support of the directions I pursue with the students in the classroom. I’m open to visitors anytime!
@Paul. I hope I didn’t come across as being that down in the dumps! This blog sometimes helps to air out the frustrations and yes, your video was very good. Meeting and working with Nancy White would have been great. I really think that my own practice has benefitted from the influence of creative thinkers like her who are not in the K-12 education sphere.
Have a good break, all of you!
I hope you have a good rest over the Christmas period. I am sure we all start to feel drained at this time of year, you are not alone. I love the honesty in your writing, I think this type of self-reflection is what is at times lacking, particularly in the work place. Recognising the tough times helps to pave the way for the better times. I am sure 2010 will be a wonderful year for you.