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Miserable on Mondays

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It’s 9pm on Sunday night. Are you ready for school tomorrow? Excited for your lesson? Looking forward to seeing those sweet smiling faces?

Or…

Does a sinking feeling of dread feel like a lead weight in your stomach? Will you toss and turn all night, anxious about the day ahead?

I have been in both situations. For my first thirteen years in the library, I loved what I did. Mondays were no big deal because work didn’t really feel like work. Sure, there were challenges. There were teachers that I didn’t click with. Parents who blamed teachers for everything. Admins who made choices I didn’t agree with or understand. But for the most part, I was left alone, trusted as a professional, and able to keep the drama from infiltrating the beautiful safe space I had built in the library.

Then I changed schools.

I still loved my students and my teachers, but toxic administrators made doing my job extremely difficult. Yes, there were red flags in the interview that I chose to ignore. In my first few weeks at this school, I butted heads with administrators, mainly about my role as a librarian. I witnessed the administrators–yes, all of four them–bullying other colleagues, and they tried to bully me, too. We clashed philosophically, and as my first year there ended, I knew the only way I could change it was to leave the school. I finished my contract the next school year and left.

Eighteen months after leaving, I am thankful for this difficult situation. I ended up doubling-down on MrsReaderPants, which for many years had just been a fun hobby. Now, I am able to do this full-time and homeschool my boys. That bad situation motivated me more than anything could have.

MONDAY MISERY

Are you also in a situation that is no longer tenable for you? Here are some signs that I noticed for myself:

  • I dreaded Mondays. And Tuesdays. And Wednesdays… I was working only for the weekends. I was biding my time.
  • Though I had waited for the weekend all week, all I could think about on Sunday was the fact that I had to go back tomorrow.
  • I was constantly thinking about how I could change my situation.
  • I fussed about work at home. A lot. Too much.
  • I found myself avoiding situations and conversations with certain administrators. This was very unlike me in past schools.
  • I started fantasizing about getting fired. About going out on a high note, George Costanza style. Because stress makes me funny, apparently.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you read those signs above and found yourself nodding along, what can you do about it? I was lucky and was able to leave, but I know it’s not an easy thing to do. So what can you do if you have started to dread your workday?

 

IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS

I had 13 great years in the library and three years as a classroom teacher before I came to this school. It was very easy for me to identify that I was once quite happy in my schools, and where exactly that went wrong. I changed schools and suddenly had significant philosophical differences with my new administration. They were interfering with a job that I had already done for 13 years, have a Master’s Degree and state certification in, and loved so much that I felt it in my bones.

Like too many administrators, especially in international schools, they knew nothing about my job. But they thought they did.

If the problems start suddenly, it’s easy to identify them. But sometimes, negative feelings about work come on slowly, perhaps over many years. If you were once happy with your job and are unhappy now, ask yourself, what changed? What is different about today that was not the case when you were happier at work? Can you get back to that, and if so, how?

 

 

NEXT: Burned Out on Tuesdays

 

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7 Comments

  • I worked in a school where the principal straight up told us that our colleagues would tattle on us. She, herself, would promise good recommendations to those applying for new jobs, but more than one teacher told me that their interviewing principal had reported to them that our principal had said horrible things about them in her “recommendation.”
    It.
    Was.
    Awful.
    Then a miracle occurred (someone in the downtown office retired and she was no longer protected) and she was given a central office job, and for me, the replacement was worse.
    I eventually made the very difficult decision to leave, and was lucky enough to be in a position to be able to.
    I now have a new position, and am finding adjusting to the pandemic situation plus new library, etc. quite a challenge, but when I get to work with the books, it’s quite relaxing. Maybe someday I’ll get to work with students on a regular basis again.
    Best wishes in your homeschooling!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your story, Anon! This kind of stuff just drives me nuts and is chose to write this series. We simply have to take care of ourselves, and sometimes, that means leaving a toxic situation. I’m happy to hear you chose a new path for yourself, even if it was a difficult one.

      Reply
  • I was a classroom teacher for 28 years and was dreading everyday. I knew I was not being my best for my kiddo’s so I chose to move to a new school as a LMS. Looking back I know much of my frustration in the classroom was the overwhelming amount of data collection we had to do. I had little time for teaching, because I was always assessing. We would sit in meetings reviewing the data, then no resources were offered to help with what the data showed. So more paperwork was added with no real results. My admin was covering her tail. I moved to the library and have struggled here too. I miss my class, I miss the fun things I used to be able to do with my kiddos. I don’t like being a specials teacher. The Pandemic has not helped!!!! I am still trying to find my new way!

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your story. I know it isn’t always easy to talk about these things.

      It’s funny how when we are in the situation, we don’t see it as clearly as we do after we are out of it. I knew my admins were toxic for me, but it wasn’t until after I left that I truly saw the damage they did. I was suddenly afraid to take risks or to be honest with them about things related to the library. It still makes me angry to think about it.

      I actually didn’t enjoy being in the Specials rotation, either. I did it for only one year, then I went up to the middle school. If I hadn’t gotten that MS library job, I was planning to go back into the MS classroom (I taught 7th grade ELA) since my schedule was the same in the classroom, but at least my kids were truly MY KIDS and saw them daily. I did get the MS library job, and it was loads better for me than the Specials rotation. Could moving to a middle school library be an option for you?

      Reply
      • I don’t know. I taught Kindergarten and Pre-K so that is really my love. I miss the connections I had with my Kiddo’s. I am considering all options. I qualify for retirement from my state but, would have to pay insurance and at my age I can’t live off my retirement income. At this point nothing is off the table.

        Reply

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