Sunday, August 05, 2007

Demons of a Young Teacher

Today is the eve of goin back to school, sort of. Tomorrow is the first day of a week of pre-term meetings, followed by two weeks of teaching a jump-start program for some of our weaker students. The real D-Day, when the invasion of students will begin in full force, isn't for three more weeks from today.

Nonetheless, I'm feeling the jitters, the adrenalin, but it's not the students I'm worried about. It's the Teaching Demons.

"History often repeats itself", they say. With that in mind, I reckon I'll bump into some of the following 'Acolytes of Hell' over the course of the year.

The Demon of Overwork:
Planning out units, daily lessons, marking homework, leading a service club and attending committee meetings haunts both dreams and weekends.

The Perfectionist Demon:
Won't let you half-ass any of the above tasks, and when you DO half-ass something, an inevitable occurrence until God extends the day to 25 hours, your confidence as a competent professional slides down the drain.

The Procrastination Demon:
Traps and snares with the temptation to explore the interwebs a bit longer, "just to look for a better way to teach that unit on the Crusades...". What a forked tongue this demon has, you think, as you find yourself clicking on yet another standup comic on youtube at 11.30pm, your lesson plans nowhere close to finished.

The Rubbish Diet Demon:
This demon works its way into your soul as you drink more and more coffee to cope with consecutive nights of less than five hours of sleep. Then it craftily replaces the FDA-approved Food Pyramid with the following food groups: caffeine, nicotine, sugar and "whatever takes the least amount of time from preparation to clean-up".

The Demon of No Life Outside of School:
This hellspawn's name says it all. And then you end up saying, "I'd love to go out tonight but..."

Do note how the Teaching Demons work in concert with one another. I believe that the 'Agents of the Evil Headmaster' are the true cause of what teaching professionals term "burnout" but is perhaps more better recognized by its various symptoms such as exhaustion, depression, nervous tics, pulling all-nighters, temporary insanity, and seizures at the sight of a pile of marking.

Folks, the one thing that keeps me irrationally optimistic about the upcoming school year are the Guardian Angels of Teaching. If you've any experience working with kids and you've read this far, please comment with the names & blessings of any of these benevolent beings.