Breaking up and breaking down.
This post is inspired by a tweet from @RogersHistory (Tom Rogers) on Friday:
“Ok, so today we broke up. Major elation at school but does anyone ever get that deflation once that’s worn off and your alone? There can be a strange sort of melancholy in any ending, even a happy one? Weird, but get it temporarily at end of every year before holiday sets in.”
I break up and I break down.
Suddenly everything I know is taken away; routine, what to eat, what to wear, what to do. Excessive pressure is an excellent motivator but also a way of absolving all responsibility for making decisions.
A friend said to me recently that a high-pressure working life can be tolerated, as long as periods of sprinting are followed by periods of jogging; but what happens when you have been sprinting for months on end; if not physically then mentally? What if, even during the other times that you were meant to stop and relax and give your attention to your loved ones and your own wellbeing, your head was secretly still working and worrying because how do you stop worrying about not having teachers to teach and having children who are in such distress that they might be dead after the holidays and having new assessments to administer and having more and more and more and more with nothing taken away and having to protect your colleagues from it all and yet having them resent you because you represent “management?”.
All through this, you keep going. Because you can see that there are small wins and every single day there is something that helps you keep your faith in what you are doing; a smile from a pupil who doesn’t normally smile; a word from a colleague who can see the bigger picture of what you are doing; an end of year review that celebrates the huge achievements in your school; a parent who tells you that you are what the school needs.
And then what happens is that you hit the first day of the long holiday, the only holiday when you really can afford yourself time off, and you break down.
Some folk avoid it by going straight off on holiday.
Some avoid it by launching into DIY, an exercise regime, more doing; maybe even straight into planning for next year.
Each unto his or her own.
But for me, I need to not plan for a while. To not do. To not be responsible.
To take responsibility for me and to remember some key truths about my self.
To sit on my sun deck for a while and not do.
It is the hardest thing for me but also the most necessary.