I screamed. Maybe it was more of a loud, defeated, groan. But that’s just how I feel. Absolutely defeated.
Cosette was complaining about dirty shoes. Baeces was crying because his feet were muddy. Jaxon emptied the contents of his cubby and scattered them around the floor. Ewan was soaking wet and needed to be changed. Yuna was in her pull ups walking around with no clothes on. All of these kids and all of their problems and me, just me.
But that’s my career right? That’s the job I signed up for. A job where my needs come absolutely last and the needs of 18 small human beings come first. It’s nearly 2 o’clock and I haven’t had the chance to use the bathroom since waking up this morning. That’s how it’s been lately. Everything I want, everything I need, comes last and truly doesn’t matter from the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.
And I am utterly broken because of it.
For the past seven weeks I have poured out every last ounce of patience and grace and love I am capable of. I have used up all the energy I could muster to help these children. To teach them how to take turns instead of grabbing each other’s toys. To help them pull up their pants when their body is so sweaty that everything just gets tangled up. To give them a fun and valuable preschool experience amidst a damn pandemic and a staffing shortage.
And because of it I have nothing left.
Not enough strength to get out of bed in the morning. Not enough mental capacity to have conversations with friends. Not enough energy to do the things I love and bring excitement to my life. I have nothing left to give.
So I yell at them. I use my stern voice and stare them dead in the eyes. I say “no thank you” more often than I say yes or maybe or let’s try this. I roll my eyes and quite honestly I’m moments away from cussing out a child.
And at night when I say my prayers I ask God to help me be a better teacher. To not yell so much or not snap at the kids as quickly. That’s been my prayer for months, and I’ve been telling myself I’m a terrible teacher for months… But the reality is I’m not a terrible teacher. I am a damn fantastic and fun and loving teacher. But I am past the point of exhaustion that I am completely burnt out.
My therapist said I’m trying to give from an empty tank. That I can’t possibly do anything more because everything that I normally hold onto has been depleted.
I am broken. I have nothing left to give. I feel terrible. I am past the point of burn out.
And I’m crying at my computer in the middle of my classroom as the kids nap. And I’m looking at them while they sleep and they look like angels. I love these little humans, I really do. But all the love I could possibly give to them is currently covered by a blanket of exhaustion.