Today was my first day back at my job after spring break and I don't think I've ever had a more difficult return to work after break. I reached a state of blissful normality during my two weeks off, feeling more relaxed than I have at any time since the start of the pandemic. I spent the summer in a constant state of anxiety over what awaited me this year, the holiday break had plenty of stress as well as the former president trying to subvert democracy.
Spring break reminded me of the scenes in All Quiet on the Western Front when Paul goes home from the trenches on leave. It seems as if he has entered a completely different world. Well today I was back in the trenches, and it was a rude awakening. I liked seeing my students again, but I was so tired and worn out, not just in my body, but in my soul.
Today was one of the days when I had to be my daughters' teaching assistant, janitor, and cook all while trying to do my own full-time teacher job. (My wife's school requires her to be at school every day.) In terms of my own job teaching via Zoom is like swimming with twenty pound weights on your ankles. (Doing hybrid is like forty pound weights.)
This just isn't sustainable. I had been in the trenches so long that I guess I had adapted to the insanity of my daily routine. Now that I have had a break I wonder if I am capable of seeing this through to the finish line. The end is within sight, but I am just out of gas.
I feel the fatigue in my soul because others just haven't bothered to help, which is just flat out demoralizing. As my wife said the other day, we have been working so hard that we've done as much work already this year as we normally did in a whole school year. My body and soul know this, and think that means it's time to shut down. The thing that's hard to take is that all of this work and all of this difficulty will not result in any reward. No raise, no promotion, no thanks beyond lip service.
And so I shoulder my pack and go back to the trenches and grimly go about my duty. I am resigned to that for the time being, but hoping like hell the Armistice comes before I lose my grip completely.
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