Teaching

For the first time since I started back teaching, it’s been a real struggle this semester.  Early during registration, my department head called me and asked if I would take on another section of Composition I.  I was already scheduled to teach two sections, as usual.  I was excited and ready to go back to school anyway, and one more class couldn’t be that difficult to take on, I thought.  I told her if she could schedule it at 8 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesday, I would be glad to take it on.  I was already teaching at 9:30 and 11 a.m. on Monday and Wednesday, so I thought all it would do was make my day start a little earlier.

However, I did not reckon on the additional burden of 25 more papers to grade every other week.  With almost 75 students, grading papers quickly became an overwhelming job.  I managed well early in the semester, but as we got further in, I realized that I was having a harder and harder time fitting the time to grade into my daily schedule. Finally the inevitable happened–the day came to give the appears back and I hadn’t finished grading them.  In fact, I had barely started.

That perceived “failure” on my part made me realize I had bitten off more than I could chew.  That began a chain reaction–I would dread grading them and put it off, only to rush at the last minute to finish them.  That did nothing to ease my stress levels about teaching as I began to realize that my goal of eventually teaching full-time was quite possibly not going to be realized–if I couldn’t handle three classes two days a week, there was no way I could teach a full load five days a week.

That realization sent me into a mini-depression, which made doing the job even harder.  If I couldn’t work towards my goal, then I suddenly didn’t want to teach any more at all.  Which was a problem considering I had already signed up to teach three classes in the spring as well.  I talked with my counselor, with Bob and with my psychiatrist about these issues.  All agreed that before quitting altogether, that I needed to go back to teaching only two classes for a while and see how I handled that again.

I called my department head and spoke to her about the difficulties I was having and respectfully asked to be able to let go of the one Composition I class I was signed up for and to just be able to teach the two Composition II classes I had agreed to.  She was open to that, although disappointed because registration had already started and I had waited so long to tell her.

So please think about me next semester as I go back and regroup to see what kind of future I have in teaching.  I don’t want to be part-time for the rest of my life, but I’m going to have to either get a lot stronger in handling my bipolar or find a new goal to work towards.  Thanks you for your support.

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