Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Sunday, August 3, 2008

School anxiety ... again!

I wish non-teachers could/might/would understand how much anxiety there is going into a new school year ... for the teachers! People like me who are already having back-to-school nightmares and anxiety attacks buying 24 boxes of Crayolas and hundreds of pencils.
The children, of course, have their unique anxieties (Will I miss the bus? Will I have any friends in my classes? Will I be able to even find my classes? Will my teachers be hags? Will I have the right kind of clothes? Will the other kids make fun of me?).
But we teachers, well, we have anxiety too. Although every single teacher I've talked to has some level of panic, mine always kicks into overdrive once August arrives: Will I oversleep the first day of school and arrive late and haggard and panicky? Will I have healthy colleague relationships this year? Will I be able to produce the level of energy that is needed to educate daily 150 seventh graders? Will the students think I'm pregnant on account of my newest fat roll and decide to give me Slim-Fast for Christmas (this actually happened to a former colleague ... oh, the horror and embarrassment ... ) Will I have good standardized test results? Will my IBS kick in during the middle of class? Will I have off-the-charts-horrific-to-handle-kids? Will I be able to climb the three flights of stairs to get to my classroom without needing oxygen? Will lesson planning and grading and lesson planning and parent meetings and grading and lesson planning and student discipline issues and staff meetings and grading get the best of me this year? Will this be the year I finally throw up my hands and announce, "Well, this is IT! No more teaching for me. I've had IT!!"
It's always possible, I suppose.


Bee said...

I don't blame you for having the anxiety attacks, but I can't really believe that any of your fears will actually come true.

You will be able to handle it. I'm sure of it.

Bee said...

I've been thinking a lot about this post . . . and your anxiety about resuming teaching . . . and your tendency to fantasize about new and different careers.

Maybe your anxiety really is above the norm; maybe you need to make a change.

I realize that money is the motivating factor here . . . so any "advice" is probably not very helpful. But I am reminded of reading an interview with Anita Shreve in which she said that she left teaching (in the middle of the school year!) so she could start writing.

Kate said...

OMG! My husband would have a coronary if I left teaching in the middle of the year to work on writing.
Anita Shreve of The Pilot's Wife Anita Shreve?
Check your e-mail, Bee. I'm going to send you something I wrote several years ago when I did quit teaching in order to write.