OK – I lied. I thought that the despair had lifted but it hadn’t. If anything, it intensified this week as my days became so full that I had little or no time or space for thinking and reflection – just response and reaction.
Ever have those days when you feel like you’re drowning in demands not of your own making and things arrive in your inbox that have a certain priority but you wish would just go away? Ever get that heaviness around the shoulders that is an embodiment of the burden of responsibility one carries? It literally weighs you down. I know myself fairly well and I recognise my need for ‘quiet time’. In order to engage meaningfully with issues and concerns, I need to feel in control of my life. Without this down time, my responses to things can sometimes be way out of proportion as emotions govern instead of reason. I become anxious as my confidence drops and see slights where none were intended. Anger is a close friend and protector. I know it’s a protective reflex; a desire to erect a buffer between the rawness of how I’m feeling and the threats from ‘outside’. In some ways, too, it’s a test: who will still be there for me when the storm has passed? Luckily for me and my students, I don’t let them see this tempest. The classroom is my ‘happy place’; a welcome ‘escape’, if you will, from the somewhat relentless and merciless demands of the administration of education. The environment is one where the focus can be put onto the real business of education: learning. Are schools becoming too concerned with the ‘business’ of education rather than learning? One has to have strength and emotional resilience to survive, I think. I think I’m heading back to the shore. I’ll wave when I’m getting close. Keep treading water – it does get better.