I Need a Nap · 11 July 2015

I need a nap.

I always wondered why it takes me a while to recover from a finished school year. After twenty years, I have finally figured it out.

First of all, I find it amazing that I have been teaching twenty years. We just had a few of the old guard retire the last few years, who had all been at it for nearly forty years. That is a lot of years in the classroom or office. And that is a lot of students who have been affected by these people.

All those people are what got me to thinking.

Now, if you have read anything I have written before, you might know that I do not like the end of the school year. There are too many goodbyes for my liking. I hate to say goodbye to friends and colleagues who are leaving for greener pastures. And I hate to say goodbye to my students. Especially, those who have been in my classes lots.

I suppose that I could put down my weariness at the end of the school year to having to say goodbye. After all, nobody likes to say goodbye. Even when we know we are going to see people again. But saying goodbye is just part of the energy drain.

When it comes right down to it, education, at least formal education, is not all about content. In fact, I tell my students that if when they leave, they do not remember anything about architecture or engineering or programming, they probably still learned valuable things in my class. And after telling them that for the twentieth year, it finally hit me. I already knew that education was not content, but I did not consciously realize that it was really about relationships.

In reality, every endeavor we undertake ultimately depends on relationships. We cannot develop a product without consumers to buy it. Teams of people work together to make stuff. People need relationships for those things to happen. But in education, relationships are even more important than in other professions.

There is an old saying, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” That is especially true of kids. The teachers that get the most hugs are the ones whose kids are learning the most. Usually. At the very least, those teachers have their kids ready to learn because the kids know the teachers care about more than just test scores. Those teachers genuinely care about the kids.

Which brings me back to why I am so tired.

I do all I can to get my students to learn. And I do so by trying to make myself obsolete. I try to get them to be able to learn without me holding their hands all the time. I get to know my students and work with them where they are. All the best teachers do this in some shape or form, and I just try to emulate them. I also try to get my students to learn for themselves and not for their parents or their teachers or because they want good grades. All of those things take conversations. And all those conversations with all those kids to develop all those relationships take energy.

Which is why I am so tired at the end of the year.

I love my job. I love my colleagues. I love my students. They all give me energy. But those relationships also take energy. Especially, when you must say goodbye.

My wife says that I am so tired because teaching is taking a twelve month job and compressing it into nine months. Teachers work more than full-time during the school year and just get their weekends and evenings back in the summertime. While that is true, I know that the majority of my energy in the school year is spent on my relationships. It is energy well spent, but it is why I am so tired at the end of the year.

After spending all that energy, I think it is time for my nap.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook


Commenting is closed for this article.