After the bell rang for lunch, I sat slumped at my desk in my empty classroom. My eyes glazed over the vacant desks, and landed on the stack of assignment drafts that I had just collected – 30 essays. I closed my eyes and slid forward in my chair, resting my head on my arms in front of me.
I was burnt out, overwhelmed, and tears streamed down my face. I now had 90 assignments to mark and grade in the next 3 days. It was that time of the term again. I struggled to do the Maths – five classes of 30 kids, two assessment pieces per term, drafting and grading equals 2,400 papers to mark each academic year. My brain got fuzzy.
At the start of my teaching career, I was motivated by empty classrooms, dreaming of how I could ignite passion in my students, engage them, educate them, help them become whatever they wanted to be. The possibilities of this career were endless.
Now, five years later, I felt empty inside. Drained. Stretched to my limit. So exhausted that I felt it in my bones. Dreams of leaving the profession crept into my mind for the third time that week, and it was only Tuesday.
After about half an hour of crying alone, I collected all my work and headed back to the staffroom, filled with stressed and anxious colleagues, chocolate wrappers littering the floor. I scrambled into the room, my arms bursting with my laptop and the 90 assignments I had to mark.