Education Opinion

Blessings and Demons

By Hanne Denney — November 19, 2007 2 min read
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I had an unexpected blessing a couple of weeks ago. My home computer was broken. I shouldn’t use the passive tense – actually I tripped on the power cord and yanked it onto the floor. For some reason, it won’t work anymore.

This has been a problem. Since I am a special ed department chair, a lot of my work involves the internet. We use an online IEP program; I can write documents, schedule meetings, and contact parents or staff members from home. I can work ten hours at school, then come home and do another hour or two. I usually spend 5-6 hours over the weekend on the computer as well.

It’s not that I am over-dedicated or extremely organized. I feel as though this extra time “at work” has just barely kept me afloat in my new job. It’s become a habit. After dinner I sign onto our Internet system and get to it.

The blessing of the unfortunate computer accident is that I can’t use a computer at home. For the first time this year, when I go home I can’t keep working. I’ve had to develop other habits. Like sitting after dinner with my husband and talking, or watching TV. I sometimes read a book – one I have chosen. I take a walk as the sun sets. I relax.

I come into work the next day feeling refreshed. I’m rested. I’m sleeping better because I’m not thinking about work right before I crawl into bed.

Well, the blessing was short-lived, as I have now have school laptop which can I can take home. I can sign-on and work anytime. I’m hoping that I have learned a lesson, though, about controlling the Work Demon.

I picture that Demon as a cartoon tumbleweed kind of thing, always in motion. There is always so much that has to be done. Everything is important. Everything we do as teachers and administrators directly impacts the life of a child, and nothing is more sacred. The teacher’s world keeps tumbling around and around, never-resting. We must stop the way we let ourselves be blown by the wind, always going along. We have to compartmentalize our activities; separating work and home, school community and family, or we will lose ourselves.

It’s Thanksgiving week, and I appreciate both blessings and demons. The pressure of my job pushes me, and I enjoy it. But I have learned that breaks are necessary, because rest brings strength.

Take a break. Rest. Let the Demon rest. Rediscover your own blessings this week. Disconnect the wires that connect your home to your school for a couple of days. Happy Thanksgiving.

The opinions expressed in In the Middle are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.