Reader discretion advised, as this post is more or less a vent.
And no it has nothing to do with that wonderful film, The Hunt for Red October, though I must say that it has certain elements of despair and helplessness seen in it, but that film sort of ends well, and that is the hope with which this too is written, that on Sunday next, 1 November, 2015, I shall write of how the acid tests and the baptism by fire went.
October is at once a happy month, mid way, because it is a darling daughter’s birthday, but it is also a month where I tear myself up, lose a lot of hair, to pulling, and to stress. I’ve just come away from a very pertinent read on teacher responsiblity, and teacher health (LINK) and it suddenly came home to me, that YES! the amount of sleep teachers, these days, lose in this month has to be rather catastrophic. Really. I’m serious.
So what causes this? Simple. It isn’t just lesson preparation, though that too is part of it. It is the pressure of grading end of term papers, computing endlessly to decode/encode grades. And no, it isn’t because, like the kids in class, we do last minute work. There really is a need to give of oneself during this month in a way that sometime, to my jaundiced mind, seems like way beyond sacrifice! (I warned you, this is a rant! Do feel free to continue reading 😛 ). Also the happy event of Open House – a free for all session of tirades, smiles, advice, complaints, appreciation, thinly veiled threats, between the stakeholders in the system – takes place around this time. I have a great time at these thingys, though I am sure this isn’t so with many of those in my fraternity. It is a period fraught with foot-in-the-mouth itis – by all and sundry. The takeaways from these sessions range from despair to howlarious laughter. More on that some-day. Back to the Red October.
What adds to this particular brand of torture, for “teachers” is that this is the season of “fests” – read inter-school competitions. Now, yes, while we have to help our learner group manage this alongside their academics, and let me tell you, they do it beautifully 🙂 , there is the added responsibility of supervising them, at practise, or if you’re interested, training them, monitoring them, mentoring them. This is just one part of it all.
The next part that I shall share has to make it known in no uncertain terms that even though the medieval forms of third degree are passé, they have evolved into other forms, especially for those who work in schools. The rack was one such device, which I do believe has found itself insidiously creeping into the system. While the earlier device was tangible and intensely physical in the way it inflicted suffering, I have discovered the the new one, or rather the revised one makes one spread oneself so thin, stretched in different directions, reaching out to responsibilities that are varied in nature, either self inflicted or generously transferred upon one. At certain points, one isn’t quite sure what one is supposed to do, but with the profound faith in oneself, and a power somewhere that will lead one onwards 🙂 one manages to do ’em all, with whatever degree of finesse one can. The degree of suffering varies, and is usually directly proportional to the level of involvement out of sheer interest or responsibility foisted upon one as a result of perceived or intentional interest espoused in certain areas. (at the risk of insulting your intelligence, I shall given you a simple example. You, as a teacher, like poetry, know how to type fast, are interested in Drama, and have a great interest in music. Western. Somehow or the other, along with the grading, report card work, you will also find yourself mentoring kids in poetry, writing, music and drama, taking class (ir)regularly, and end up with a some position in the conduct of the event. The thing is you love all this, do this, and therefore are spread very thin. The Rack, in action. )
So why the rant? All of a sudden, the D-Day looms. The participants are ready. The schools gearing up. And on ground zero of the event (believe you me, if the event takes place in your home turf, it s no less than Ground Zero- the impact is inexpressibly traumatic 😀 ) the ones up front taking the flak are those in charge of the conduct of the competitions on Stage. That’s right. Stage Duty is a greater danger than Stage Fright. You can run away with your Stage Fright, but with Duty, you gotta stay put, face the fear, dig in, brave it out, and hope to God that you’ll come out of it, wits in tact. The frazzled, hassled, harried lines that etch themselves on your face are nothing. The real damage is done, within. 😀 😀 You’ve got ulcers by the dozen, and several hair roots on the head have sealed permanently. Not to mention the zombie like state that is going to be hard to recover from 😛
It’s going down, this week. Want a ringside seat to the drama unfolding? Come on over, the CBSE Kalotsav, in our District takes place at the end of this week. 28, at our sister institution, 30, 31 at ours. 🙂
I got cookies. I will buy chocolate. And I hope it will rain. This is directed solely at the young lady who knows the lines mean something, to her and me 🙂 One of our recitation sessions.
Well, I’m a survivor, and I know that all my colleagues are too. So good luck to us, as we host the show, and to our participants, young prodigies, each of them, for a fine show to put up, at their moment! Please do hold them in your prayers and wish them luck! Go on, bring it on!!
25 October, 2015
The delightful cartoons all belong to their owners, and have been taken from a google search on stressed teachers 😛