For the first time, I have noticed in myself the end of term 3 exhaustion that has plagued many of my friends and colleagues over the years. I am tired. So very tired. I want to have a nap, and I am writing this at 8am, on my third cup of coffee and after a solid 8 hours of sleep. There are 3 days left, one of which I am on excursion for, before the term 3 break. Two glorious weeks of not sleeping in! I have a three-year-old, so the words “sleep in” have been removed from my personal lexicon for the foreseeable future.
But I am grumpy. So very grumpy. Yesterday may have been the longest day in history. I only taught for 2 periods and had 2 off, but it was so long. It felt like I marked forever, even though I managed to finish the last of my outstanding marking in about an hour. Time is slowing down at the moment; each minute is taking longer to pass than it predecessor. Oh, the injustice and drama of it all! (man it felt good to be over the top and dramatic about this!)
But I shouldn’t be. Life is good. My classes are running smoothly, my marking pile has been eliminated. I have all my lessons planned till the end of the term and for the first two weeks back. I have a clean house. My students also seem to be in high spirits, despite their only being 3 days left. They like what we are doing in my classes. Why the hell am I feeling burnt out?
I’m not an introvert. I never imagined teaching not being the chaotic, maelstrom of learning and teaching that it is. I love my job, despite having those days where I don’t, which usually coincide with an illness or external stress. This is my first experience of the Term 3 Blues or Term 3 burnout, which I have heard about. Everyone, in this case defined as teachers I have spoken too or decided to write something I read about this, says that term 3 is the hardest of the year. It is when the pressure builds and the cracks start showing; everyone gets stressed. It has never hit me before though. I guess I have always had lots of other things going on; I have been chasing contracts or CRT; I didn’t work term one at one school; We had a baby in June one year. When I reflect about it, this is really my first year working for the whole school year, continuously, without there being something else major happening external to work. I guess I have been lucky.
So how do I deal with this feeling? For me it going to be a long 3 days. I’ll go to the gym and go for a swim. I’ll write some blog posts, which are becoming almost therapeutic; I actually find writing stuff like this organises my thoughts and provides me with a bit of introspection and perspective. I’ll keep clearing my plate, so that the holiday will be mine; I will only need to do what I want to do, with no pesky “needs doing” stuff for my job. I’ll focus on the positives; there are so many. I didn’t see them until I wrote this post. When the holiday gets here, I am still going to be up at 6am. But it will be on my terms (or at least the terms of a toddler). I won’t be taking off my pyjamas until I want to though.