I’ve alluded to it in previous posts, talking about the malaise that accompanies the end of the semester; however, now I’ve come up with a clever name that seems to most accurately capture the idea.
I’m not trying to belittle those who suffer from PTSD with this name; if anything, I’m trying to draw a very real comparison to how the end of the semester affects me and other teachers.
At the end of the semester, from the moment the final grades are entered, I (and other teachers I have spoken to) suffer from a general malaise. We are only able to think about the past semester and the semester to come. We try to process the experience and apply it to the next semester . . . but we don’t want to. We want to leave the semester behind and pursue our own interest. But, simply, we can’t.
All thoughts are of school, and we can’t do anything else for at least a couple of days.
After that comes about a week of not wanting to do anything. We sleep, we veg, we watch TV and movies. We have aspirations at doing other things, but there’s a lack of both will and real desire.
Only after that do we find that our will to do things comes back. We’re rested enough to do them, as well. Most importantly, our creativity begins to return.
After eight years of teaching, I’ve observed the pattern enough to recognize it’s real. Also, there’s no shortcut to speed up the process. It takes time to recover. Talking it out with colleagues helps (non-teachers really don’t understand), but the process takes as long as it takes.
That’s probably the hardest lesson, and what I think it shares most with PTSD.