We hear about #momguilt all the time and how it kicks when you even THINK about putting yourself first for 5 seconds. I can admit that I deal with this on a daily basis. It’s one of those things that never goes away.
I’ve also realized that as a teacher, #teacherguilt exists as well and has the same exact meaning, except from a teacher standpoint.
#TeacherGuilt hits most when you just need a few minutes to sit down and relax during your school day. So during group rotations or while students are finishing a task, you decide to sit behind your desk for a few minutes. But then #teacherguilt sets in and you feel bad for not walking around monitoring to see if your students are understanding the new concept you just taught. Then, when students take an assessment on that topic and don’t do as well as you hoped, you think back to those minutes you wasted on yourself.
It sets in when you get home and know you need to take an hour or two grading papers, but can’t keep your eyes open long enough because you got in at 5 pm because of another staff meeting that ran over, with the expectation that you stay until you are released.
#TeacherGuilt sets in the most when you’re feeling ill, know you need to take a day off, but feel as if you can’t because of this new concept you need to teach and only have a few days to teach it because the curriculum moves too quick. So you sit in your bed, staring at the ceiling, contemplating whether to take care of yourself or struggle at work the next day because your kids “need” you.
But just like #momguilt, sometimes we have to tell #TeacherGuilt to SHUT UP and SIT DOWN.
But just like #momguilt, sometimes we have to tell #TeacherGuilt to SHUT UP and SIT DOWN. Click To Tweet
There are times when YOU matter more than some paperwork and a curriculum. Your mental and physical health matter more than an emergency lesson plan not being updated or a meeting missed.
As a teacher, we feel as if we have to be everything to everybody but ourselves. We feel like the whole world of teaching will come collapsing around us if we take ONE day to get ourselves in order.
My first year of teaching, I had this mentality. I ended up sick, burned out, and ready to quit by October.
But then I received some advice that would change my outlook on my level of commitment to my school vs. myself.
The Show Will Go On
She said “If you died tonight, there would be a job posting up before you get cold in the ground. Take care of you. This show will go on with or without you.”
As dark as this may sound, it is, unfortunately, the truth.
The Show Will Go On… With or Without You. Of course, the preference will always be with you, but if you aren’t available, they will make it work.
You must take care of you and tell your inner #teacherguilt to shut it.
It’s why I love organizations like Teacher Self-Care/The Educator’s Room who remind us that WE come first. The curriculum will always change. Administrators will come and go. Your students will move on, graduate, have families, and move on.
After all of those changes, YOU will still have YOU. What condition YOU will be in… is entirely in YOUR hands.
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