Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Worst Drive Home from Work Ever

Well, I shattered my longest-day record for this school year. I clocked eleven hours in the school building today, which is way too long. And all the way home I was berating myself for my many failures as a teacher: not enough parent contact, too long to get papers graded, disorganized classroom, blah blah blah.

I wish I had a happy ending for this post, some peppy way that I talked myself out of this self-esteem death spiral. But I don't. I'm disappointing myself as a teacher. I can't even figure out why. I look at how hard I'm working and I don't know what I'm missing, but it's not enough, and everything that goes even slightly negative towards me just breaks me up right now. Today, just a mildly annoyed e-mail from a parent pushed me over the edge. I had to rehearse a reply in my head three times before I could come up with something conciliatory, pleasant, and helpful.

Today is one of those days when I remember my career in corporate America and I wonder if working for a soulless, faceless entity was really so bad. After all, I had a big desk, I could listen to music all day, and I never had to take work home. My work was easy to understand and, even though it could be time-consuming, I never had these spirit-killing doubts about how to do it. And if I didn't understand it, I could pop over to someone else's cube, ask them, and be set right usually in a matter of minutes and be on my merry way. Fixing a mistake didn't take days or weeks or months. It might not have been the most inspiring work, but dammit, I was good at it and my boss was happy with me.

These thoughts and more, right up to and including how on earth to roll over my TRS funds into a Roth IRA if I decide to quit, filled my mind on the way home from work today. I've been having too many of these days lately. Please someone tell me that this is not a sign, but is entirely normal, even well after one's first or second year is over. I'm feeling like a noob this week.