I got my contract today.

While I’ll undoubtedly sign it, I don’t currently have the energy, wherewithal, or want to even look at it.

I’m tired, down to my bones. Weary. Exhausted. Depleted.

And, yeah, part of it is physical, but most of it is psychological. The past year has taken it’s toll on so many parts of me, I’m not sure where I want to be anymore.

I’ve found myself second-guessing every move I make. I don’t know if I want to teach anymore. I don’t know if I want to teach in the district I’m currently in.

Some of it, easily, can be blamed on Covid. Some of it is lack of communication-or lowkey snarky communication-from higher ups. Some of it is personal. Some of it is that I’m exhausted.

No. Not exhausted. Weary. To me, exhaustion is physical, but weariness is in your soul. And I’m soul-deep tired.

Doesn’t matter how much coffee I drink, how much I sleep, what I do for my physical health. I’m tired.

Realistically, this is what they call teacher burn out. It’s caused by certain situations that most teachers find themselves in, and now, exasperated by Covid.

Teacher burnout is caused by low pay, feelings of disrespect, district vibe, administration, parents, and students.

For me, it’s also caused by lack of boundaries, and being an empath.

It makes my soul tired to know what I know, to be the one who cares and is there, and continues to do it. It makes my soul tired to feel unappreciated by many people that I’m in frequent contact with because of my job.

It makes my heart hurt to think of teaching any other way.

So, I know I’ll sign the damn contract. I know I’ll continue to teach at the district I’m currently at. I know I’ll continue to teach, because I can’t picture myself anywhere else.

And I’ll hope beyond hope, that next year eases some of the burden felt by teachers everywhere. By me. By my colleagues. By my friends who left the field too young, because it’s all too much sometimes.

To everyone, because burnout isn’t unique to the teaching profession, but it’s the one I’m in, so it’s the only one I can speak on.

I’ll hope that I find the peace I need to not feel this ache inside, like there’s more I should do, or could do.

I’ll hope administration and the school board continue to recognize the necessity of teachers who feel heard, respected, and supported.

I’ll pray that my kids’ lives magically become easier. That bullying stops. Their parents start being parents who make decisions for their children. That drugs and alcohol stop playing such a big part in of their lives. For one class that has more than half of the parents still (happily) together.

I’ll pretend I’ll create boundaries, and stop listening and advising students. But I also know damn well that won’t happen.

I’ll pray for grace. For my students, for myself, for anyone who is impacted by the world of education.

And I’ll nap, because fuck, do I need one.

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