As the weather gets colder, the days shorter and the enthusiasm for getting out of bed wanes, the pace of work picks up at school. We have reports looming, meetings galore and marking appearing on our desks at a tsunami-like rate.
It seems that every day is fuller than the last and the “to do” list just keeps growing, faster than items can be crossed off. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and head for the doona in a bid to hibernate the winter away, blissfully unaware of school bells and deadlines.
Currently, my long list of “to do” tasks has me waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat wondering how they will ever be achieved. My magic time for such panic hits is 3am, on the dot.
Have I booked the computer room for my year 7s for Thursday? Did I enter that class’s marks into my mark book? I have to type up a permission letter for that excursion and have it signed by the principal. Damn, I forgot to call that parent back! No doubt she will have left three more messages on my phone for me. When do we need to have our reports finished? When is assembly? Hopefully it’s when I have my year 9s.
After a restless few hours, I inevitably end up sound asleep about half an hour before my alarm goes off. I wake panicked, confused and exhausted, making mental calculations about how much longer I can stay in bed and still make it to school on time. No wonder I still have a few year 7s whose names don’t come easily to me, even though it’s term 2.
“Sam, you’ll need to sit down. Sam!”
“Do you mean me, Miss?”“Yes. Sit down!”“I’m Adam.”“Oh. Sorry. I meant Adam.”
Poor Sam was clamped on his chair, wondering why I was yelling at him and looking in the opposite direction.My tiredness recently reached a point of extreme and I was asked by no less than seven students over the course of the day whether I had a black eye.
“Um, no. I’m just really, really tired.”
I am finding with the reducing hours of day light, I am staying at school later and later — or at least it feels that way, as I am arriving home in the dark. I like to kid myself that I am getting all of my marking done so that I can have the evening at home free of school work. In reality, these drawn out afternoons are merely a chance for the members of our office to vent our experiences of the day and consume copious amounts of chocolate. This results in the marking bag being dragged out to the car in the almost-dark and lugged home for the evening. I’m sure its presence in the house is the trigger to my 3am wake-up. Effectively, it’s giving me a black eye.
Christina Adams is a member of the Australian Education Union (Victoria) and a stand-up comedian.