An overload and I’m scared

All was going well till Wednesday evening. Then an overload hit and my already fragile state feels poorly.

  • My grandad can no longer have dialysis and he will die very soon. He is 97 so he has a good and long life. But it’s rocked me. He is my inspiration. I have always admired him and loved talking to him. He is so special to me.
  • My dad’s Alzheimer’s is so much worse. I don’t like to share too much here as my mum and dad are very private and there are people who know him who may read this, but all I can say is it’s going downhill fast and although I knew things would happen, it doesn’t make it any easier.
  • My mum is finding it hard to cope with my dad. With my grandad dying it isn’t helping. He is my dad’s dad but it is my mum having to deal with that too. And it’s me who tries so desperately to be her rock.
  • Finally my rock is poorly. My husband is off work with stress and he is very wobbly and shaky. I am trying to support him in every way possible and I hope he knows I will always be there for him. He keeps apologising because he says he should be strong for me right now but things don’t work quite like that in life.

Right now the build up of life is impossible. I’m terribly overwhelmed. In a weird way I feel better than I did a week ago as I’m purposefully trying to hold it together for everyone. But underneath I’m incredibly wobbly. I can really feel the illness circling me like vultures. I’m desperately swatting it away.

I’ve told some colleagues, I’ve told a friend and I’ve told a boss; all to try and get the support there if the fall occurs. Currently I’m ok. Ok as in life is pretty rubbish right now but I’m ticking all the boxes and keeping going.

End of term compassion

The marathon has nearly been run,

The Christmas fun is yet to come,

The term has been long and tough

I love my job but right now I’ve had enough.

My mission this week has been to ease the ride

I’ve tried to support my colleagues, taken their side

Covering lessons, setting work, being there

Taken assemblies, lent an ear, trying to show I care.

Tonight it’s taken its toll

I’m feeling exhausted, right now I couldn’t support a soul

It feels good to have made a difference to you

I hope someday you will pass it on too.

Teacher and student stress.

Schools can be full of stress and anxiety. The combination of expectations, pressure and a range of people can make it a hive of tension. Today I witnessed this from many angles.

Students

Many of the students that I teach are in their final GCSE or A level year. At the moment they are tired, stressed and anxious. It has been a very long term. We are coming towards the end of it and now added in to the tiredness they have mock exams coming up.

For some the pressure is from their own high expectations of themselves. They are desperate to do well. They want to get the top grades. For others the pressure is from their parents and the demands they make of them. For others there is a stress because they would love to do well in reality but they know they haven’t put the work in and are therefore worried about how the exams will go.

This stress comes out in a variety of ways. Today I have witnessed teenagers strop over a revision game. Today I have witnessed teenagers argue over exam questions. Today I have witnessed students cry over words between friends. Today I have seen students snap at each other and even me.

Staff

Like the students staff are also extremely tired. It is sometimes hard to muster up the energy and enthusiasm to teach a class of 30 youngsters when you are so exhausted. Add into the mix the tiredness of the students and the combination is tricky.

Instead of winding down for Christmas school life seems to wind up at times. With the mock exams comes marking and report writing for the teachers. When I used to be a primary school teacher I remember winding up for the Christmas productions! Throw into the mix the usual winter illnesses, colds, vomiting bugs etc and wow the end of the Christmas term is tough.

Today I have spent an hour planning and setting cover work for a colleague who is off work. Today I have listened to a colleague who is struggling because they are so tired. Today I have visibly seen how drained some teachers are. Today i have apologised to colleagues for forgetting things, my brain is a little foggy with tiredness.

This is the stress pouring out. I love taking the time to support colleagues or students with times of stress. My message today has been one of compassion. I have tried to listen. I have tried to offer them an ear or place to offload. I have tried to advice. I have tried to encourage. And most of all I have advocated that students and staff rest as much as possible. I more than anyone know the downward spiral that stress can cause. I have recent first hand experience of depression triggered by stress.

So rest when you can. Take time for yourself. Try to balance your work commitments with your you commitments I.e things that give you life.

I am an advocate of you will be more productive and better prepared when you are rested. That’s why I’m always telling my most conscientious students to remember to rest. This is why my message now to colleagues is to encouraging them to rest.

Rest before the stress beats you.