Sunday nights are hard.
I always hope to have my work accomplished on Saturday so that I can truly rest on Sundays, but it never works out that way. Instead, I get home from church, eat, doze, play the piano, and then come to with a start to see that it is 6:30 and tomorrow is another week.
As a teacher, Sundays are especially hard because I have much to do, all the while dreading that first alarm at 4:55 am. It usually ends up being a story of procrastination–I eat dinner, watch 60 minutes, watch my Sunday night TV, take a shower, plan meals, plan outfits, make to-do lists–everything, it seems, except what needs to be done.
More and more I’m trying to separate my work from my time at home–that seems the only way to stay sane in this profession. I’m also seeing myself become less and less productive at home. It’s difficult for me to grade papers or plan lessons or prepare while I’m in my apartment. So many other professions allow people to leave their work in the office when they go home. In my job, it seems that only half of my work is done in the actual classroom. I’m not sure I like that! I don’t really want to be answering parent emails or grading hundreds of papers during my few precious hours of free time.
That sounds like complaining, but it goes deeper than that: how do I define the sanctity of my time? Do I have a right to want to leave work at work, or did I lose that right when I graduated with a degree in education? Do I make a hard distinction between what work I bring home with me, or do I say that this extra work is all in pursuit of some higher goal? I know good teachers who do both. The problem is determining where I fit on that continuum.
After a week of central office observations, behavior issues, intruder drills, and group projects should I feel guilty for not grading a single paper this weekend? Should I have to justify to my students why their quizzes from Friday aren’t graded? Instead of feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead, I feel weighed down and guilty, an all too common feeling.
If I am to be refreshed and rested, I must allow myself the time to be refreshed and rested. I must put aside those other cares and tell myself that this time is not selfish or wasteful, but necessary and good.
But here it is Sunday night, and I still feel totally unprepared for Monday.