Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Don't Like Being "El Diablo!"

This is a chalkboard drawing one of my students made in my classroom this morning.  It was at the beginning of the day, and a good start to the day at that.  When I first noticed it, I laughed at the accuracy of it because the kid got it spot on, but then I began to think...

...I left the drawing on the board during my free period, the next one, so that I could show it to the other students who would be coming in the following class.  They all got it as well...

In case you might not get it, let me break down the meaning of the drawing for you:

- In the morning, Mr. Myers has got a smile on his face.  He's happy and his usual self.
- By mid-morning, the smile starts to fade as the stresses of the day seep into his psyche.
- And by the time the last period of the day rolls around, Mr. M. is "el diablo," yelling and screaming at the kids at an almost constant rate for the last 45 minutes of the day.

I don't like being "el diablo!"

I began to think that my life, or at least my mind, seems to have hit rock bottom right now, and my job has a lot to do with it.  For the sake of privacy and not getting myself into trouble I'll spare you the details, but this school year is much tougher than the one before, which was pretty bad, and even though I saw the stress coming, there was...there is...nothing I can do to stop it.  I feel helpless!

My days at school start early and finish late...every day.  And it doesn't stop there.  Work comes home with me nightly and on the weekends, too, and I'm lucky if I get one or two hours to relax daily and maybe a three r four per day over the weekend.  I always thought that teaching was supposed to get easier over time, but not for me.  I know a lot of it has to do with the particular teaching vocation I chose, which if you didn't know already was English as a Second Language, or ESL.

You see, my students don't speak English, and they come with a whole host of other issues, many of which are related to the cultures from which they come.  They look to me for just about everything, help with their science or math homework, or personal problems at home or at school, and though I do love working with them, the recent influx of immigrants to this country has upped my load by about 33% so far.  That equation amounts to an exponential set of problems to deal with.  Other than the ten minutes I leave my classroom to go out to my car for a breather, I am literally swamped every single moment of the day.  It's no wonder I feel like I'm going off the deep end!

I remember when I used to write about those "Ziggy" periods, and I always said that I knew they were temporary, but I think pessimism has taken over my mind as I've aged and I don't foresee anything getting any better.  And when things aren't going well in one area of your life, everything else in your life seems to follow suit.  My personal relationships are suffering, my lack of sleep has increased, the laundry piles up right along with the dishes, I'm not eating well, not getting my regular exercise, and any hope for a personal life, much less a relationship, seems pretty glum.  

I want to live again, and for all of my life, not just summers and school vacations, but at nights and on weekends, too.  Is that too much to ask for?  And I don't want to be "el diablo" at school anymore. I took on this career to make a difference, and being a stressed out grump with my students doesn't really do much good to that end.

It's a good thing I will be getting help soon at work in the form of an assistant, and November and December are full of holidays, so perhaps the relief of these two things will help drag me out of this cloud.  One can only hope...    

...Or maybe I need to stop hoping and start doing!  Again, Ugh!  

I don't want to be precious
I don't want to feel stress
Life is for the living, but not a living hell


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