Opinion
Education Opinion

Day of Rest

By Hanne Denney — November 20, 2005 1 min read

It’s Sunday night, and I feel great! I think to myself. Then I have to ask, Why? Uh oh, guilt sets in as I recognize my mindset. I feel great because I don’t have to teach tomorrow! What kind of a teacher would say that, even if only to herself? And here I am saying this publicly, that I am happy I am not teaching tomorrow.

This is a confession. Here it is: I am tired. I work so hard, and teaching is stressful. So this week, when I don’t have to teach students, I am relaxed, rested, and unstressed. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for ten is no big deal. Teaching 80 students for 258 minutes in three periods five days in a row, now THAT’s stressful.

Usually Sunday afternoons are a time to read textbooks, plan the week’s learning, differentiate materials and assessments, create graphic organizers or notes, check for supplies. As the day wears on I find myself growing stressed, worried about not having enough time to do what I need to do. Sunday evening I clean out my “teacher bag” and get ready to go, very early. I fill my weekly calendar with notes about meetings and to-do lists, those jobs I couldn’t get done on the weekend. Usually my Sundays don’t allow much down time.

Today, I spent my Sunday in a day of rest. I read the morning paper, cover-to-cover. I raked up leaves outside, and took a long walk in the afternoon sunshine. I chatted on the phone with my daughter, and cleaned the living room. I cooked a nice dinner. I watched a football game without holding a textbook in my lap. It was nice. The day seemed long, languid, and lovely. Didn’t have to worry about what I am doing tomorrow. Tomorrow our faculty is attending an all-day seminar. I get to be the student, not the teacher. I’ll learn something new, and don’t have to prepare anything!

I like teaching, and I hope I don’t sound whiny. I like preparing lessons: I find the process of lesson planning both creative and intellectually stimulating. I just feel like there’s never enough time to do it right.

I am thankful that I have a lot of support in my school, from administration, mentor teachers, media and technology specialists, department chairpersons. I am thankful especially for my fellow teachers, who share everything they have and hold me up when I am tired and stressed.

But mostly, this Sunday evening, I am thankful because I am not teaching this week. Enjoy the holiday!

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