Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Overly overwhelmed

The last few weeks (okay, months) have been really overwhelming and chaotic. If you are a 4th grade teacher or a teacher in my district ... or a teacher anywhere in the country, you will understand.

The amount of stuff that gets piled on our plates is ridiculous, and sometimes I wonder if I have any time just to teach. That is what I'm supposed to be doing, right? The last few weeks, I've been staying late at work at least 3 of the 5 days. The last 3 school nights I've gotten home around 6:30 and still felt I could have stayed for 2 more hours if I didn't have a dog to take care of.

Even Minnie noticed that I've been working too many long days. Last week, I came home to find a hole that she so kindly chewed in my bedroom carpet. She has since been confined to the back hallway, the only place in the condo with hardwood floors. I wonder if she is sorry since the hallway has no natural light, no windows to look out of to bark at the cars, no comfy bed to sleep on and no Animal Planet to watch all day.

Tonight, I stayed at work to just get a couple stacks of papers graded (125 papers to grade = 60 minutes of grading) because I need to send home progress reports this Friday. I really wanted to stay and get my "corner" organized. What used to be clean is already a giant mess! It really takes a Saturday afternoon up at school to get things filed away and organized. Who wants to do that after you've already worked 50+ hours in that mess all week!?! I realized the other day that part of the paper-trail mess for teachers is that the papers literally multiply! I start with one original copy, then I make 25 copies for my students. I then get rid of them when I pass them out, but they come right back to me waiting for me to grade them. It's never ending. I can have anywhere from 50-250 papers waiting for me to grade on any given day. When is there time to do that?

I feel like I'm a first-year teacher again. Can't get caught up with grading, I haven't seen my plan book in months (shhhh!), I have lots of paperwork that is required to fill out and I feel like the Kansas State Assessments are creeping up on me and we are nowhere close to being ready! I just wrote all the dates down on my calendar today: 4 State Assessments, some of them with more than one section, it is about 12 hours of testing that starts in just about a month. I had a tiny panic attack tonight when I was driving home, when I realized that it is FEBRUARY! When did that happen??? We aren't ready for our tests that start on MONDAY! Ahhhhh!

Looking back over what I just wrote, it is all very scattered and scrambled and may not make a whole lot of sense. That is what my job feels like right now! Just had to get some of this off my mind, so writing about it was the best way to vent.

How are the rest of you teachers staying sane right now? Any tips for me?

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Emilie said...

you guys should go would easier on your stressload and a whole lot nicer to the environment :)

Bets said...

Emilie! FABULOUS idea! I'll get all my kids laptops for Valentine's Day so they can just do their work on the computer and then e-mail it to me. ;)

Sylvia C. said...

Sorry to hear you are having such a stressful time! I didn't realize you taught 4th graders... ouch. Those are some tough ages to deal with (without all the paperwork on top!).

Hope you have a relaxing weekend!

Thanks for your kind comments, btw. I am starting to get really, really excited to meet this lil guy!


Sylvia C.

RachelC said...

The answer to your question, Betsy, is that I'm not staying sane. Between my ELL class, a committee meeting, and extended learning this week, I feel like I just can't get caught up.

I think you just need to let go every once in a while and do something for yourself. I had to work out this week and spend some quality time reading in between grading papers. And I guess we just need to stop thinking that this job is going to get any easier.

Anonymous said...

Just want to thank you for being a teacher to our children. Your job is so very important. You have opportunity every single day to touch a life and make a huge difference. I admire you and I pray you focus on all that you are doing so well with your class. God bless you!

Marie Hooker said...

I hear you, girl. I have made it a rule to NEVER bring papers home to grade and I leave school at 3:30, and it makes a huge difference. Keep in mind that you don't have to grade every problem on every assignment! Spot checking is a wonderful thing that I use all the time. You are doing an amazing job...that's why your paycheck is so big!!! HA!

Bets said...

Thanks ladies, for all your advice!

Rae, I definitely do something for myself as a reward. It's called DVR & curling up with my pooch!

Marie, I've never understood how you leave so early. I don't know how you do it! You must be so much more productive than I am during the day. I know you are an organized woman, but it just doesn't seem to work for me! I'm definitely working harder, not smarter.

P.S. Left work AFTER 6 every. single. night. this. week. Blech!