Cannot Keep Up #SOL17

When I was a new teacher, I used to arrive at work by 6:45 or so in the morning. The day officially started at 8:15, but there was sooo much to do before the students came. The day ended by 3:15, but I often stayed until after 6, lugging a bag of work home with me. The amount of work seemed endless and I toiled round the clock. Those were the days when I lived at home with my parents, was single, and could work round the clock, though it certainly did my social life no favors. 

I remember a colleague once telling me, "There are no awards for who stays the latest." She was certainly right. I wasn't looking for an award- I was looking to keep my head above water. I just couldn't seem to ever be caught up. 

I'm not a new teacher anymore- this is year 16 for me. Nowadays I get in about 7:50 and sometimes I have to leave by 3:15 now that my children have after school activities. I still bring a big bag of work home with me, but by the time I get my kids to sleep, often my eyes can barely stay open and the bag remains where it is. 

I cannot keep up.

But I couldn't keep up when I worked round the clock, either. Which leads me to wonder if teachers ever feel all caught up. (Anyone?) As a third grade teacher with 24 students, I teach every subject. And every subject now has sub-subjects. Math isn't just Math- it's daily math, concept development, problem solving and fluency. Reading isn't just Reading- it's read aloud, word study, minilessons, small groups, and conferences. There is writing. There is social studies. When there isn't social studies, there's science. There's character education. And then there's the extras I throw in because I believe in them- poetry notebook, family dialogue journal, blogging, etc. Besides all the content to plan, there is the very human component that these are children in front of me with wiggly teeth and stories of baseball games- kids with real hopes and fears and ideas about themselves as learners. Getting to know them is a very big part of my job. 

There are the forms to fill out so a translator can contact a parent who is not English speaking. There are the forms to fill out to let our team know I have academic or behavioral concerns about a student. There are the forms to fill out for friendship club, and the character award, and for appointments for parent conferences which are....right around the corner. (AAGH). 

I don't know any other life- if other people feel this constant sense of being behind at work. Is this just a teacher thing or is this just what it's like as an adult? I try to work smarter and not harder but can't find the time to listen to the podcasts which are supposed to teach me to manage my time better. 

Please don't get me wrong- I LOVE teaching and would want no other job. I just somehow wish I could feel less buried under all the things that need to get done to do the job well. 


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