June 11, 2009

The Collapse

When I first started teaching, I would go to my parents' house as soon as summer started. For several days after I arrived home, I would be in a mostly vegetative state. Sure, I could hold simple conversations, cook meals, do some chores, but mostly, I was not-quite-there.

The first few years, this behavior concerned my parents. What was wrong with me?

Simply, exhaustion.

The first few years, I know it disturbed them, but after that, it was a ritual we all came to expect. I've even come to embrace it.

This week, I have been attending 3-hour professional development sessions that have started at 9 am about IB. At my school, most IB teachers start teaching at 7 am, yet here we were all rolling in two hours later than that looking like the zombies. I've heard talk of naps, headaches, and sheer exhaustion that baffles some, as we aren't even working hard now.

Last night I had a conversation with my principal, and come to find out she's been napping every afternoon, too. She's a little surprised by her need for sleep, and that surprised me. I think she's been in education longer than I've been alive, and she's about the hardest working administrator I know. As far as I can tell, her working hours know no boundaries. Surely after all these years she's felt that "Something's gotta give!" that comes in June.

Does this happen to other teachers? Does it happen to you?

What do you call it?

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