Let me start off by saying that this isn’t a veiled attempt at sympathy. I despise sympathy, I will have no pity party. I have always tried to be open and honest in my writing and that is all this is. I also believe that I can help other people by talking about my current situation.
For those of you that have read my blog, you will know that this year I was given a great opportunity to take on a head coaching position at a small college in Edmonton. It was, and has been, very exciting, made only better by the support of my school division when they agreed to give me the time off necessary.
At the beginning of the year I was flying on adrenalin, excited by the potential of my young team and the possibility of big things. I was also very excited to return to the classroom after my first year in administration, and the energy I drew from the classroom had me revved up as well. I looked at my busy schedule and thought that while it may be a little stressful, I could handle it. In hindsight, it was very arrogant of me to think that way, and I am now seeing the error of my ways.
I am not able to balance the schedule I have created for myself. To go one step further, I am not balancing my life very well right now. I am not a good teacher, a good coach, a good husband or a good brother/son. To put it simply, I am not doing anything well right now. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a TERRIBLE teacher, coach, husband etc. I am just an adequate one. The problem is that for me that is not good enough. Anything I do I want to do to the best of my ability. At this pace, that simply will not be possible.
When you take on more activities/responsibilities in your life, other sacrifices have to be made. The problem is I have made sacrifices that are not sustainable. I have not exercised, I have not been eating well, I have not gotten enough sleep and I have not dedicated enough time to my wife. What is the result?
In the past three weeks I have been sick twice, missing two practices and two days of school. I am in the worst shape of my life. My wife and I spend most of our time just getting done what needs to be done and not spending any quality time together. I am tired at work, and have to struggle to provide the type of energy and engagement in my lessons that my students deserve. I have neglected my professional learning (never on twitter) and my own reflection (haven’t blogged in quite some time). I have not felt satisfied with anything I have done, and without that feeling of pride in what I do, I have even less motivation.
Changes need to be made, and I am working to make those changes happen. Some changes will be made now, and some in the future, but I need to find balance. And that is my message. I am living proof of what can happen when balance is lost. When it comes to our profession, the teacher is the machinery, and we need to take care of ourselves. We deliver the lessons, we provide the energy and enthusiasm, and we are the sole protectors of the process for our students. If we neglect ANY of the things we need, we are ruining the most important tool for the education of our students.
I believe it is important to have more going on in your life beyond the classroom, and to bring those passions outside the classroom back into the classroom in anyway you can. But in the end if we aren’t healthy, in mind, body and spirit, none of that passion will be translated into what we do. In the months to come I will find balance, and I will write about how it has improved what I do. For now, I have work to do, and this work needs to be done well.