Remember: You are enough.
By Yuliana Sorial
A 2022 study conducted by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 73% of teachers struggle with symptoms of anxiety. Here’s what a “normal” day looks like:
There are 24 hours in a day and seven hours in the school day. Add another hour because 20 minutes in homeroom are not nearly enough to read your essential question a hundred times to ensure that it is accurate, to go over your lesson plan for the 20th time since last night—when you changed your lesson at the last minute because you felt like it wasn’t challenging enough. Or, you felt like it was too challenging. But did it meet the standards? Did you differentiate it to meet all of your students’ needs?
At the end of the school day, you erase the board for the 10th time because it is soothing to feel accomplished after your last class. But then you remember that you forgot to answer a parent’s email, so you quickly do that.
Twelve tabs later and you’re making materials for next marking period because the clock is ticking, and you’re worried that your pacing is off. Two hours pass. You check your watch and remember that you need to go home to make dinner for your family. At home, your family has been watching you grade assignments until you fall asleep on the couch.
The doctor told you to find ways to relieve the stress of your job and that you needed to incorporate more physical exercise into your day. So, you spend an hour working up the confidence to go to the gym and then another hour at the gym.
You need time to spend with your family, so you put on a movie as you keep your laptop open to try to get some grading done. But like nails on a Smartboard, the sound of a teacher having time to themselves isn’t “resourceful.” Once the movie ends, you feel instant regret that you only graded one assignment, so you stay up another hour to be productive.
By the next day, you’ve made even more materials, but you think you can do better. You’ve spent too little time with your family, got yelled at by a 15-year-old because they couldn’t use their phone during a test, and got an email that you haven’t practiced NJSLA standards enough.
For all the educators going through this cycle, you are not alone.
You are an amazing educator.
You are doing enough.
Yuliana Sorial is a 9th Grade English teacher at Bayonne High School. She is a member of the NJEA Early Career Network which can be found at njea.org/early-career.