I sort of always knew I would go into education. In my elementary school years family and friends, and even some of my teachers would tell me they could see me as a teacher. What really got me into education was my time volunteering at my youngest sister’s special needs school. And what pulled me in was seeing her growth and improvement and knowing that I was a part of it. From that point on, I began working more with kids in the classroom and on the tennis court. Now I teach middle school and high school social studies/history.
What has kept me motivated in teaching are the rewarding moments that you experience as a teacher. It’s the “thank you” you get after helping a student improve a particular skill or providing them with a new study strategy that makes things click, or supporting a student through a difficult time. It’s moments like these that make being a teacher even more special than it already is.
Is being a teacher always full of these moments? Heck no! Those shimmery moments make up a small percentage of the day-to-day. But for me, it’s still worth it. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself up until recently.
I live with anxiety and depression and my mental health is consistently all over the place. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck at the bottom of a well even after having a good few days while other times it’s just bad all around. I wish I could separate what goes on with my mental health from what happens at work, but it just doesn’t work that way.
I’ve noticed that some of the things that I experience at work or as a result of being a teacher has a significant impact on my mental health even after the school day is over. So much so that I’ve had to force myself to stop checking emails after school and have turned off my work email notifications.
My anxiety and depression have caused me to question my capabilities as a teacher, made me feel like jumping out of my own skin, lose confidence in my own self-worth, and lose countless nights of sleep. I’ve avoided students in the halls, had panic attacks anticipating parent meetings, cried after having parent meetings…
So why am I here?
I know that I’m not alone, whether you’re a teacher, nurse, lawyer, accountant… you name it. The thoughts and feelings I experience living with anxiety and depression are not just about me. It’s about everyone out there who struggles in their workplace because of their mental health, and sometimes even more so because of what goes on in the workplace.
I wanted to create a space for myself to share how anxiety and depression affect my life and work, and hope that this space becomes a place of connection, solace, relatability, relief, etc… for the people who visit my page. I also like to bring in some humor amidst darkness, because it can’t all be dark, right? (I hope you like laughable and almost unbelievable teacher stories).
Whoever you are out there, you’re not alone. Let’s work through it together.