“What did you do for your vacation, Mr. Vilson?”
“Eat, sleep, and eat, and sleep some more.”
I must have look rested since I had just gotten into class, smiling and boisterous.
A few classes later …
“Mr. Vilson, you look old.”
I kid you not; it was almost as if 12 days of rest did absolutely nothing to help me convalesce from the stress induced sicknesses I had. I’m still balding in the upper regions of my cranium, and have acne like I’m a Black Benjamin Button. I thought it was just me until I went on my Facebook and read through many of my fellow teachers’ status messages. They read something like this:
“Well, back to the ol’ coal mine.” *
“I blinked one minute, and the next, I was back in school. Where’d the time go?” *
“I don’t want to go back to school. WAAAA!” *
“I went to heaven for 12 days, and St. Peter kicked my ass back into school.” *
And I’d love to sit here and tell you that your later years get easier as time goes on, because it’s the truth. What they don’t tell you is that how the stages that new teachers go through throughout the year doesn’t necessarily flatten out per se. Let’s take a look at a graph I posted about a year or so ago:
In all seriousness, last year, I kinda stayed in that bottom phase for a little too long because of all my personal issues, but under normal circumstances (i.e. my 2nd year), I’d still go through all these phases, but to a lesser degree. You’ll also notice that it really looks like the local peak at the end of July seems to dip lower, with a (maybe rational) assumption that you can never get back that anticipation and excitement you have your first year.
Maybe that’s how this downward curve flattens. As the yearly anticipation, the disillusionment decreases, and thus, the longer you last, the closer you approach this constant feeling of reflection and fatalism, doing the job to the best of their abilities, but not trying to go any further. This is at least true for many of the teachers who I’ve seen reach past 10 years or so (if that long).
So for the first proposal I’d like to make as part of our contract (please, no givebacks for this one) is simple: hammocks in every teachers lounge. It sounds ludicrous, but by the looks of things: it looks more necessary than ever.
* all status messages changes to protect the weary.
Jose, who wonders how your first weeks have gone so far …