Balance to find Meaning

It’s the beginning of December. Many teachers are feeling worn down at this time of the year and the winter break is exactly what we need to recharge in order to continue doing the incredibly hard job that educators do day in and day out. I am feeling this more than I ever have in all of my previous years as a teacher, which I guess is understandable when looking at my current situation. In the last 3 months…

  • I’ve started a new position at a brand new school, which is so much harder than anyone could ever imagine. The hours that the staff has been working is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and this hard work started long before this school year. We’ve been faced with countless time consuming decisions since last March, and many of us worked through our whole summer, and certainly all of August in order to get our classrooms ready to welcome our first students.
  • my family and I have moved out of our house, into my parents house for one month, and then finally into our new house which was late being built… during report card time to add a cherry on top.
  • I’ve participated in #IMMOOC for the 3rd time but also pushed myself further this time and helped to lead the chats. What an incredible learning experience!
  • Sounds a little ridiculous to add this last bullet to my list but… I have 4 boys! They are ages 7, 4 (well almost 5, sweet Christmas Eve baby), and twins who are 3. There is rarely a calm moment at home with this gang.

Needless to say, my stress level has been quite high lately. I’ve seen many physical signs of stress creep up on me; I’ve lost weight, my skin is horrible, and I’ve been pretty grumpy (just ask my husband). Although these signs are forcing me to look internally to make changes in order to finish this month off strong with my students, there has been a realization that has come over me this weekend that has really put things into perspective for me.

In my post Balance vs Meaning, I explain that working gives me meaning which is so much more important than balance. Although I still completely believe this, my mindset has shifted slightly and I’ve learned a hard lesson:

without some sort of balance, meaning can’t happen.

Right now, through the busiest time of my life, I feel like I’m losing my meaning. Blogging, reading educational books, connecting with my wonderful PLN both online and off, used to give me so much meaning. I used to thrive on it. It used to fill my bucket and give me great joy. But… right now… my life is too crazy. I’ve lost the balance, and what used to give me meaning now feels like an extra chore. Insert guilt here. When I’ve sat down to blog lately, nothing’s been coming out. Snuggling up with a good DBC book used to happen consistently, where now I struggle to make time just to read inspiring blog posts from amazing educators. Being active on twitter, reading, connecting, providing feedback, all that that has turned into more of a consumer roll seeing as I’m lacking energy to share back and engage. Oh, how this makes me sad.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I’m not doing everything that I can to create amazing learning experiences for my students, I am still putting a ton of effort into my work, I’m just seeing myself take a step back from extra things that typically fill me up. I know I’ll get back to it, I know that as my stress level goes down, and once I find a bit more balance, these extras won’t feel like extras anymore and I’ll be able to find meaning in them again. I truly look forward to that day, but for now, I’m being gentle with myself and am allowing myself to step back, find balance, so that meaning can come back.

I know I’m not the only one who’s been feeling this lately, I can’t be. Funny enough, what’s been truly helpful has been googling inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting quotes every morning, in order to help out a good friend who’s also been struggling. Finding these quotes has been more than helpful for me, too. Here are a few of my favourites.

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2 Comments

  1. Roger W. Davis

    December 3, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Hi Ann,
    I understand completely how you feel. I completed a masters, a principal degree, worked two jobs and was married and had three kids. At the end, I felt exhausted and lacked joy in what I did. I had to do a major overhaul on my life. I started working to live versus living to work. I started thinking about what my joys and purpose in life was. It took me sometime however I am much happier and still teaching after 28 years. It is the small moments I work for now. I work harder at the balance for those I love. Excellent post. Happiness is a habit. Culitivate it! Sincerely Roger W Davis @rwdavis_edu

    1. Annick Rauch

      December 3, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Thank you so much for your response, Roger. I know I still have a lot to learn, and I’m tweaking as I go! I appreciate you sharing your journey, I’m sure I could learn a lot from you!

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