If you’re a teacher, you’ve heard it. If you know a teacher, you may have said it. “You’re so lucky you have your summer off! I wish I did!”
In my head, I’ve envisioned knocking them to the ground and laughing, but I usually meet it with, “Yes, it’s a nice perk.”
There’s this thing I like to call teacher tired. It builds through the year and by the end of it, we are exhausted. The best way to describe it is like a parent finally getting their kids to sleep and being able to have a few moments to themselves before falling into their own glorious slumber.
Think of the school year like a day in the life of a parent.
In August everyone is waking up ready to start their “day.” Yet you still have those in your class who aren’t morning people and, as the teacher, you have to try and engage them and show you care for them while trying to set the routine and boundaries for your other students. You get things going and get into a good pace, but nap time is approaching. Those students you have in a routine are getting tired—they have a hard time listening, you’ve had multiple long meetings, and everyone needs a break.
Thank goodness for those breaks! Your students are on a little siesta and you have a few moments to yourself. But those naps never seem long enough and you are back into your routine. This happens a few times throughout the “day” and each nap brings a new level of excitement and challenge leading up to it.
Then comes the dreaded hour before bedtime, also known as May.
You love your kids, but you are tired. You’ve made decisions for them all day long, repeated yourself more times than you want to admit, had who knows what wiped on you, and still had to keep up with all the household work. You know you will miss them the moment they go to sleep, but the countdown is on.
When bedtime comes there is a sigh of relief. A few breaths and time to tuck ourselves into bed for our own rest and rejuvenation. There were hard moments in our day, but so many more sweet ones. We miss our kiddos as they grow and can’t wait to see where the next “day” takes them, but we can barely keep our eyes open.
So when you see a teacher in May, thank them for their hard work. It’s the small things that keep us going these last few moments. And don’t be fooled, our restful sleep still gets interrupted for planning, preparations, and continuing education for ourselves.