I have been crying a lot. Its the end of Week 3 of teaching, and I’ve had at least three big meltdowns and some smaller ones.
I’m one of life’s criers. I cry at graduation, at weddings, at birthdays, I cry at the thought of this advert and at the bridge of this song. Tears are my response to any strong emotion. I’ve cried in meetings. This is who I am.
This week, I’ve had a lot of questions from my students. They haven’t understood some elements of the course. I haven’t been clear enough. Each time the questions come I feel the tears pricking. I’ve heard from some of them about the shitty year they’ve had, I’ve listened to their worries, and I feel just awful for not being better at this.
In this swirl of guilt and sadness comes frustration. I’ve said this I’ve written this I knew all this would happen. I want to scream. I want to cry. I do cry. I walk away from my emails a moment and come back.
I rewrite what I think I’ve said before. I try so hard to be kind. I film another round up video to try and put a face to everything that they’re getting.
And my god this is taking up my time. Trying, and sometimes failing, to be kind is eating my time. I see the untackled jobs and emails mounting. And I will not answer emails after five. Unless you count the insomnia emails.
I don’t really know who reads this blog. I’m not sure what influence I have over edu-twitter. I am too tired and too emotional to write anything sensible or analytical here. I have many half-finished drafts. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to communicate here. I want to be insightful and witty. I want to be helping. I think I’m just venting.
Here’s what I’d like to be reading:
You’re doing the best you can right now. I know that this sucks, and the fact that you’re doing it at all is the victory. Remember that the students are stressed too, and kindness goes both ways. You have made some mistakes, but you know that you can learn from them. Mistakes don’t mean you’re stupid. What will you do differently next time? Remember, I’m asking what you are going to do differently. You only have control over a limited number of factors, which one of those are you going to change?
One of the small factors I have control over is a bit of an audience. Someone to share this with. To say “hey, I’m finding this hard. I think you might be finding it hard too.” Maybe I can help us keep staff and keep students if I just remind people that at the other side of a screen is a human who’s hard a hard 7 months.
Most of all, I want to be told I’m doing a good job, and I want a pat on the head for getting this far.
That’s probably how the students feel too.