Something occurred to me this week... It has been before Christmas since I have really felt well. A busy term before the holiday really knocked the stuffing out of me, and I have been playing catch up ever since. Now don’t get me wrong , this is not a moan. I enjoy my job and love being a teacher. I have no undue pressure put on me other than that which I place on myself.
In the words of Mr Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later [makes squish gesture]
I’ve always had this approach to teaching, full on or nothing. I give myself projects to do. Having met so many inspirational people via twitter, I have picked up so many ideas I want to try. Just because they are so fantastic and I know will impact on my children’s learning in the best way. This is leading me to stretching myself thinner and thinner. I know it is wearing me out and making me ill. I just don’t want to and possibly can’t stop.
Since Christmas I have had a chest infection and cold. I know I should go to the doctor, yet I tell myself I’ll wait until half term. There is too much to do (Data, meeting, inset, training, and clubs not to mention the day job). My classroom cupboard resembles a small version of a famous high street chemists, with Lemsip and pastilles forming part of my balanced diet.
So why haven’t I been sensible and done the right thing by visiting the doctors, resting and getting myself well? After all that is what I know I SHOULD do. I guess the answer is complicated, including the inability to get an appointment outside of school hours, my stupid macho need to “carry on”. The truth? My own insecurity, that if I do I will somehow be failing my pupils, colleagues and profession and letting them down. As @teachertoolkit once described in a blog, I am playing the archetypal “guilty teacher”.
So what? I need to give myself a break. I can see echoes of my situation now to that of my father (another workaholic) who pushed himself so hard by working during the day lecturing in the evening, volunteering as a first aider and a Motorsport marshal, all while juggling a young family. Sadly, he had a heart attack before thirty, and although I am happy to say he is alive and healthy (ish) now it has taken him until nearly sixty to realise he needs to slow down.