Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Avoiding imbalance!

While I was walking into the schoolyard today, I realised how tired I was. I also realised that I was suffering a bout of depression. I wasn’t sure which one had triggered the other because I was tired in a defeated way.

I tried, in vain, to focus on positive thoughts as I dragged myself across the schoolyard. I then wondered what I looked like to the school children who were standing around individually or in small conferences. In the past, many children have commented on the fact that I smile a lot. Today my smile was dejected! I remember looking around at some point, wondering if anyone actually noticed it, but every face I saw seemed to reflect what I was feeling. (It isn’t unusual to see this. Ten weeks into an eleven week term, it’s quite normal for the children to feel fatigue.)

In retrospect, I don’t know how I coped today. Being tired makes a person’s emotions go all over the place. Yet, I kept it together. I went through eight lessons and one of my break times without stopping once to rest. After second break, I had an hour’s invigilation for a test period and two more lessons to deal with before the bell rang for home time. Then I sat down to do speech and reading assessment for another hour. I went through the motions unmotivated, but willing. I was calm and in control.

When I came home, I made myself a quick sandwich and a strong cup of tea. I then started marking tests. All this was done with great effort and a lot of double checking. I knew that I was tired, but I ignored what my head and body were telling me to do because I had “work” that needed to be done. I knew that once I had finished all the work, I would be able to relax.

The point is, when I work all the time, there’s no balance. This leads to anxiety and depression. In the end, I feel tired and defeated. It takes so much inner strength to do what I did today, but I think it takes even more inner strength to properly navigate my days so as to avoid imbalance. If I could do less to achieve more, I would. Unfortunately this doesn’t always work out the way I want it to.

My term and my days are well-planned. The problem is, the minute an unexpected situation occurs, it becomes the catalyst for disorganising everything. It is impossible to stand ready and prepared for these hurdles.

The good thing is that teachers get holidays and I’m really looking forward to the Easter break. It’s a week that will help me recharge for the new term.