Where is the off switch

Have you ever just felt “tired” – I am.

This is a bit of a rant, but also request for some help, if you don’t want to read anymore stop here.

It has been a long school year, of that there is no doubt!  Students and teachers can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there is still a ways to go.  In our case until June 16th for the students and shortly thereafter for the teachers.

I know “cry me a river”and all the other comments that those outside of teaching say to teachers, when we complain of being “tired”.  “Just “suck it up” until school is out, then you have the summer off and you can rest all summer long while we are still working” and other similar or worse comments. I hear it every year and read some of the less than complimentary comments on posts or Twitter in response to other teachers saying “I’m tired”.

You know something, I really don’t care what those others say or think anymore, because right now I am tired – bone tired.  So if you have a negative comment for me, just keep it to yourself, it won’t get published or completely read before I trash it and you will just be wasting any time or effort you put into your response.

If that is your thing, go find someone else to berate, beleaguer or insult I don’t have the energy or inclination to put up with it right now.

I can’t blame how I feel today completely to last week’s surgery or having three IEPT meetings (along with the associated paperwork) already this week, in addition to a regular teaching schedule. Those are just part of life and what I am hired to do as a Special Education Teacher.  So in my opinion they are not the reason for my  tiredness, I think it goes much deeper than that.

I believe a lot of what I am feeling is because there is no “OFF” switch anymore, we seem to be always “ON”!

From all the #***chats,  EdCamps, WEBINARS, online courses, seminars, and other formal and informal professional development opportunities that are available most every night of the week and weekends (in other words developing a PLN), Twitter running in the sidebar, Facebook in the background and probably a couple of chats on the side. In addition to the normal workload of correcting student work, school related paperwork, participating in the multitude of committees, lesson planning, then re-planning or adjusting your lesson plans to the reality of the day and its multitude of interruptions. Then trying to figure out how to reach those students who are not interested in what you are attempting to teach no matter what you try.

It is easy to say JUST SHUT IT OFF — Unfortunately, that is not the answer.

To be a good teacher today, you need to do many of these things just to stay current, but at the same time how do we keep up this pace without burning out?  I know that this being “on” all the time is not only affecting teachers, but also many other professions as well, been there and seen it up close and personal. So please do not go off on that tangent, this one is for teachers.

What can we do to lessen the impact of having to be “ON” seemingly 24/7 in today’s world or at least a lot more than we were in the past?

I guess that is the question.

So what do you think are some of the solutions that will help teachers like me feel less “tired”?

“Are you doing the right thing for the right reason?”

4 thoughts on “Where is the off switch

  1. Wow. You are so right. I have always said I would love to have a job where, at 5 o'clock, I turn off my computer, shut my office door, and don't think about work until the next morning when I walk back into the office again. Instead, as a teacher, I live, think, breathe teaching. I am online with students, parents, colleagues, my PLN. I am learning constantly, which takes more time, I plan in my head all the time… weekends, vacations, summer. It never ends. Most of the time it is exhilarating. But sometimes, like this time of year, it is tiring…bone tiring. The answer? Find a different job. LOL


  2. Several years ago, I learned, the hard way, that you never know how fast you're going until you stop. You are receiving a quite vocal lesson to slow down. There are lots of platitudes I could quote (can't take care of anyone else until you take care of yourself) but you already know them all. You are only a week out of surgery and you expect yourself to be 100% (or more). That tells me a few things. I imagine that if a friend of yours (or a student or a student's parent) were in this position, you would have some sage advice. Something like: what can you do to take care of yourself? How can you lighten your load? But I have a hunch you wouldn't take that advice either. You are so focused on 'doing a good job', 'being the best I can be', 'staying current', 'making your career your focus', etc. that you have left being human out of the picture. No room to be 'selfish' or to 'relax' and 'do nothing'. There's not enough hours in the day, so how could you waste any of them on yourself? Okay superman, we get it. Actually, we really do, because too many of us feel exactly the way you do. And too many of us will tell you the same things you would tell us. We are not a profession that practises what we preach easily. And why are we so proud of that? It's really not a good thing. sometimes I love twitter because it lets me know I'm not alone, other times I just can't understand how we all can 'talk shop' all day and all night. Enough already. Dedication or obsession? All I can offer you is company. Know you are not alone. I wish we'd listen to each other. – Vicit


  3. Lisa – Finding a different job is always an option 😉 But where else would we have as much fun or feel as if we are making a difference in some kid or family's life.But I have a feeling that most of us will just suck it up, make it to the end and try to find our brains a week or two after school is out, if we haven't gone ahead and signed up for professional development, been "volunteered" for some PD or continued to plugin to our computers/mobile devices/phone or whatever we use to connect.I love talking with everyone so much and learning from my PLN, but just have a hard time to turn it off – it is almost like an addiction.Thanks for commenting – Harold


  4. @Vicit – You know something you are right, 100% right. We don't listen to the advise the we would give to someone. We are so focused on getting there and getting our kids there (wherever there is?) that we do forget about ourselves and how we need to take care of ourselves. What you have said I have said to others, but now maybe I need to listen also instead of just doing. That is food for thought.Thank you for attempting to re-orient my perspective – I need it every so often.Haroldby the way I know that I am not Superman – not even a distant relative, but we can dream can't we.


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