Paraphrasing one of my heros – Randy Pausch – Remember how the airline stewardesses always tell you to put on the oxygen mask first, then put it on those around you?
Well, that's my philosophy in teaching. I always put my own physical and mental health before my students. If I don't I won't be there when I need them. I seriously going to give up my weekly adult time for tutoring and even tried a compromise this week, and it won't work.
Now, I DO tutor every morning, and I do let kid come in and work and lunch and most of the time will answer questions – I did just say "No" to a child when I had a robot in my lap and was in the middle of showing the robot class how to program. And then explain later, I am normally good at multi-tasking but not when I have a Robot in my lap.
I very rarely say no to after school tutoring on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays, when I do, I have a meeting or I am so tired I can't see straight.
What I am turning down is the one night a week that late night busses are provided, and the kids that stay for tutoring are doing it because they are required to, and the ones in my room this Wednesday were all knuckle-heads.
It's funny how every hears "I won't tutor" when I say "I won't tutor on Wednesday evening". Added because of Facebook comment.
I also pace my class so that if you are doing your work you actually DO get free time. Not much.
I take the occasionally mental health day or physical health day – well planned, with the right sub. I take the occasional recharge conference week – TCEA in February – well planned, again with the right sub. I do an assessment when I don't feel well – if I go in, will I do more damage than good.
I take care of my house, my husband and my dogs – though one of them does a better job of taking care of me.
I do what I can to take care of my physical health though I picked the wrong parents – I go to the gym, etc.
I am irritated when people are praised for thinking of their students first but then they aren't doing those things and then fall apart at the end. Are you truly taking care of your students if you aren't taking care of yourself?
By the way, what brought this on, was a comment about a recently killed teacher: "He always thought of his student's first".