October 22nd, 2012 — Sunday Night Blues

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October 21, 2012 by hookershorde

October 22nd, 2012 – Sunday Night Blues

A few weeks ago, my eighth grade English students read The Baker Heater League by Patricia McKissack. It’s a story about railroad porters who formed the first African-American union.

To build background, we discussed the qualities, the traits, people who really loved their jobs shared.

Enthusiasm.

Contentment.

Eagerness.

One girl asked, “Do you love your job?”

“Oh, yes,” I replied. “I don’t even feel like I work.”

Looking at 32 thirteen-year-olds seated on sky blue seats around the tables in my classroom, I laughed, a heavy rich laugh and recounted a story.

“Years ago, when I lived at Sundance and taught fourth graders in Orem, I had neighbors who worked at Novell. They hated their jobs, really hated what they did.

Our weekends were filled with skiing or mountain biking and potluck dinners.

One Sunday evening, surrounded by dirty dishes, Bobby looked at and said, ‘You don’t get them.’

‘Get what?’ I asked.

‘The Sunday Night Blues — I’ve had them ever since I was a kid and had to go to school. I have them now. But, you, you don’t get them. In fact, you never even talk about going to work. You talk about going to school or your classroom.’”

I continued with my eighth graders in early September, “As a teacher, I’ve never worked. He was right. I come to school. I come to my classroom. I LOVE what I do.”

But, a month later, when Sunday night rolls around, my chest tightens. I try to lose myself in television – 60 Minutes, HBO, the Amazing Race . . .anything. But, it doesn’t work. My brain won’t quiet. I feel the blood pulsing. The pounding is almost audible.

What changed?

Giant class sizes, new mandates from the District Office, a new administration, taxes raised, frozen salaries, combined with my usual “can-do” attitude has crushed me.

I’m exhausted.

I feel like I do in May, after a full year of teaching.

Pressure.

I’m under pressure.

The pressure keeps me from doing what I love – teaching.

Instead, I maintain an online classroom management page for each of my courses, subject my students to quizzes and writing assignments rather than discussions. I do what my principal tells me to do. I show up on time. I have content/language objectives for my courses posted. I enter grades, respond to parent emails, and attend professional development.

It’s Sunday night.

I have the Sunday Night Blues. It’s 8:21 pm.

They will morph into Monday’s angst, followed by trivial things on Tuesday, woebegone Wednesday, taciturn Thursday and finally, in-a-funk Friday.

As hard as it is to get up and get to school, it’s better when the children arrive at 7:35 am. They are witty. They are interesting. They care.

I will be in my classroom in less than eleven hours.

And, I won’t have the Sunday Night Blues for a week.

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