Drifting is the perfect word to describe how I'm feeling at the moment. It's neither here nor there. Work isn't feeling like an up hill struggle that's for sure, but yet there is something not quite right. I'm drifting. It's a strange feeling, I'm getting on with things as and when they need doing and I don't constantly feel like I have a to-do list as long as my arm. I'm keeping on top of my planning by using TES as much as I possibly can and I'm getting my marking back up to date. Sounds like I'm totally on top of things doesn't it? But yet I have this drifting feeling.
Over the last 8 weeks or so I have been determined to strike a work-life balance, something that I hadn't had much of in the first term of my NQT year. This has certainly had the desired effect on the life side of the balance, I'm claiming back my weekends before it's too late and I allow them to get swallowed up by teaching for the rest of my career. It's been great, but I can't help but feel like I'm cutting corners to get to this point. I get that typical teacher guilt, that feeling like I should be working, or that I should be doing something better, more in-depth, more like that other teacher does. I compare the amount of work I'm doing with other people. I find myself thinking that so-and-so spends this many hours doing that, why aren't I? Am I doing it wrong? Is mine not as good as theirs? Of course, probably none of this is true. Are the kids I teach still learning? Yes. Are they still making progress? Yes. Am I still planning, marking and otherwise doing what the job requires of me? Yes.
So why the drifting feeling? One of my theories is that I feel like I'm drifting because I'm just doing what I need to do to get by. I'm not going above and beyond, I'm not putting all my energy into my planning, I'm not spending more time than absolutely necessary on my marking. Does this mean my standards are slipping below where they should be? I don't think so. Does this make me a bad teacher? It shouldn't, yet it feels to an extent like it does.
As teachers we are trained to put so much of ourselves into the job all the time, and it's draining. From day one we learn that planning and marking is going to take over our lives and that we'll be living for the holidays. Why should it be this way? As a teacher that arrives at 7.30am and leaves at 5.45pm and often gets the laptop back out between 7.30pm and 9pm am I not entitled to my weekend? Teachers (and any other profession come to mention it) should feel that the weekend is their time and their time only. We shouldn't have to make this concerted effort to keep it free or feel like we're dropping our standards if we do. I'd like to feel satisfied, not just drifting.
What's the solution? I wish I had a clue. Answers on a postcard please...