It Only Took Me Injuring Myself to Realize…

Teaching is a wonderful job that I really put my heart and soul into. This job always gives me a lot of enjoyment. I make sure that I model the behaviour and attitude that I expect my students to have. I am there in the classroom, day in and day out. I don’t use my sick days unless I am actually sick. I expect my students to be in class every day and I lead by example.

I’ve only used a handful of sick days in my career and I’ve never used one if I didn’t need it. That being said, things have been a bit stressful lately and I felt like I really needed a break. I was struggling with this a bit because I have sick days allocated to me that I will never use. These days can’t be banked or rolled over to the following year. They are there to be used if needed, as they should be. But they are there, and last week they were tempting me.

I had secretly wished to have Friday off last week. It would’ve been nice. I could have went for a run, did some writing, and just enjoyed a day off. But I couldn’t bring myself to book it off.

Life works in weird ways though because I ended up having the day off anyway. I just couldn’t enjoy it because I was in a lot of pain and I spent most of the day immobilized on a backboard.

What I am really trying to say here is that it took me getting injured to come to a realization. I have a good job that I enjoy. I am there to serve the kids in my class, and that really is the only reason that I am there. I shouldn’t worry about all the BS that is happening in the board or the community. I shouldn’t worry about anything.

I have a job that I enjoy. Some people don’t have a job. Some people don’t have a job that they enjoy. I get holidays, days off, and sick days. I should be thankful for the opportunity to teach the children in my class.

I’m glad I had this epiphany. I won’t take my job for granted again. I will be there, doing my best, like I always have done. I now realize that I had a bad attitude last week. I guess I needed the time off to appreciate all that I have. Lesson learned. I just wished I could’ve learned it an easier and less painful way. It still hurts a bit but it’s getting better.

7 Comments on It Only Took Me Injuring Myself to Realize…

  1. I fully agree with you. However, I do believe that sometimes a person needs a mental health day. If you’re feeling tired and stressed out, a day off can really make a difference. It would be morally wrong if you were to take the day off just for the heck of it. But if you’re feeling a bit worn out or run down, it’s totally fine to take a day off.

    I’ve found that I’m a better teacher if I’m well-rested and not feeling stressed out. I have more patience for the kids and find that I’m more relaxed about the day-to-day happenings. My good mood rubs off on my students and my colleagues. I don’t hesitate to take a day if I really feel I need the break, because the day afterward I usually feel refreshed and more enthusiastic about my job.

    Bottom line: your mental health is important. To quote a wise, good friend of mine “You gotta do you, too.” 🙂

    – Elle

  2. When I first started teaching over twenty years ago my dad gave me two pieces of advice -the first was that its ALL about the kids and that meant making sure that I had the right attitude everyday and that I tried not to let my own stuff get in the way of doing what was the best for them. You can never fool the kids. Not matter what crap is going on in the main office the kids are really the only ones you ever have to impress. The second piece of advice was to make sure you schmooze the secretary and the maintenance people becasue when the crap goes down they will help you more than the board or central office ever will. I know how hard it is to just let go and be selfish about yourself but in the big picture sometimes its the exact thing that is best for the kids. Feel better – kids hate change but sometimes they need to know how much they miss you.

  3. Hi Elle,

    A couple teachers have told me the same thing. I can't help feel guilty though at taking a mental health day.

    I think some teachers take way too many mental health days. I just want to be here for my students and do a good job.

    I will take one in the future if I really need it. Thanks for the advice.

    Hi Calvin,

    What a great point. It might seem selfish but it actually can help the kids.

    Teachers rock. Both of you, thanks for the words of encouragement.

  4. Anonymous // June 1, 2009 at 9:10 pm //

    Hi Chase:

    I think that you should take time off to make sure that you take care of yourself and your family. Sometimes, it is just a mental health day.

    The demands on teachers, kids and parents have changed so much, even in 5 years, many of the materials are "outdated".

    Please don't read this as I don't like to keep myself current as a practicing teacher however there should be some limit about how
    many initiatives are sent to the kids / classroom.

    I jokingly said to a girlfriend that I was hoping to only get 1 new initiative until the end of school this year. I received notice of three more initiatives the next day – two small, one large – however June is not the time to start something new.

  5. HI Anonymous,

    I think there are way too many things happening at school. It seems like there is always something new being thrown at us, whether it be an assembly, a fundraiser, a special event, a guest visit, a sports day, a festival, or whatever. It’s just too much!

    I put in a lot of time doing extra activities on my own time either at recess or after school but that is because I enjoy it and I always have a good response from the kids.

    Sometimes it feels like we are asked to do too much though. I know what you mean.

  6. Sorry that you got hurt!

  7. Hi ECD,

    It really hurt for a while but I am back to (almost) normal now. I just started running again yesterday. I'm back to being active, which is good. But there are times when it still hurts when I am doing a specific action or holding my head a certain way. I think it may take a while longer until I am 100% again.

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