I mentioned that I have been sick. The last few weeks have been difficult; I’ve been overcome with a bone-deep fatigue and had difficulty coping with….well, everything. I was so tired I couldn’t even think straight about how weird this was and how maybe I should call my doctor. The last straw was when I left the house to pick up my son at basketball practice last Thursday and couldn’t remember how to get to the gym, even though I have been there many times before. I called a friend for directions and almost started crying.
I called in sick the next day. (And Chutney sure did miss me.)
The good news is that there is an explanation. The new medication I have been taking daily to try to prevent migraines (this would be attempt #5, including acupuncture and chiropractic) has hit me with some serious side effects. I am now off the meds, and each day I am about 2% less exhausted. At this rate it will be a long time before this stuff is out of my system. But at least things are getting better.
Last week was particularly hard, I thought. Marvelous Mittens Day wiped me out like it never has in the past. We didn’t even get to the big make-a-mitten project that I always do on that day. By Hot Chocolate Day, the kids were starting to act up, and that worried me. This class is so angelic! Something really must be wrong for them to be even close to the bratty side. And what was wrong, you ask? Their teacher wasn’t behaving like herself.
That was the other thing that got me to go to the doctor. If the kids were being affected by my exhaustion and my lack of focus, then I really needed to find out what was wrong and pull myself together.
This week I mentioned to Miss Slinger, “Don’t you think things are getting better? I feel like things are falling back into place now that I have a little bit more energy.”
She said, “Actually, I never thought they were that bad. I knew you were really tired, but I thought things were going fine.”
I thought about that a minute and admitted, “I can be pretty hard on myself.” Last week I wasn’t up to MY usual standard, and that really frustrated me. Maybe no one else noticed, but I did. I felt guilt about not doing my best for the children, and not doing my best as a teacher, and that was wearing me down, too.
Which brings my train of thought to its conclusion. Maybe one of the most important things you need to be a good teacher is to be self-reflective. I have been trying to mentor a few teachers lately who seem entirely incapable of looking at their teaching and wondering how they could learn something new, or how to improve. I find that way of thinking really foreign, and am at a loss as to how to proceed with them.
I can always see how I could have done something better. Maybe that is what has made me into a good teacher?