Why are teachers so tired at the end of the school year? Maybe it’s because they spent the last nine months juggling a million things while still shaping the lives and minds of the students in their care.
In a video that has gone viral, high school English teacher Trevor Muir shares the funny and serious ways that teaching is exhausting. He posted it to his Facebook page, The Epic Classroom, where it has received over 18 million views.
Grading papers, “composing and giving an original 20-minute-long, memorized speech in front of 30 people every day, 180 days out of the year,” always having to be “on,” navigating relationships with parents, seeing politicians cut education funding, prepping students for tests, having to stand all day—all that and more is tiring, Muir writes.
(For maybe the most memorable description of what a chaotic job teaching can be, see Allison Rodman’s response to blogger Larry Ferlazzo on what the toughest part of teaching is: “Good teaching is like being a juggler in a circus on a plane that is on fire while trying to land on a moving ship.”)
But teaching isn’t all bad, Muir concludes. “When a student shows you their first college acceptance letter, or reads for the first time, or realizes the immense power of their words, or stands up to a bully in the hallway, or sits with the lonely kid at lunch, ... or starts believing in themselves for the very first time right before your eyes, or returns to your class years later to thank you—being tired is worth it.”
In a follow-up blog post for the site We Are Teachers, Muir writes that he learned that the struggles and joys of teaching are universal. People from all over the world have seen and shared his video, he said. “There is something powerful knowing the solidarity that comes with being a teacher,” Muir wrote.
For those teachers who are still counting down the days until summer break and a well-deserved nap, my colleague Alix Mammina collected teachers’ advice on the three best ways to finish the school year strong. And Teacher columnist Justin Minkel wrote about how, despite the exhaustion, he makes time to reflect on his teaching practice at the end of every school year.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.