Lunch hour... in any other profession I've been involved in this meant that I left the premises (or at least moved to a cafeteria/staff room), ran personal errands up town, went to the gym, relaxed and enjoyed my food, etc.
Lunch hour... in the teaching profession, however, is a somewhat less-structured continuation of the rest of your day. As soon as that 12:00pm bell rings you are:
- Supervising extra-curricular activities
- Providing extra support for students who need to catch up
- Meeting with colleagues or admin
- Holding meetings with students
- Making phone calls home
- Preparing for your afternoon's class
This list goes on... and on... and ON... before you even factor going to the bathroom... not to mention actually eating anything that resembles a full lunch.
Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and this is the first time in my life where I don't consider my job to be work. There can be days, however, where I notice my patience lessening, I notice my frustration growing, and I feel tired thinking about the next set of 25 students that will come through my door.
This is when, I as a professional, need to shut the door to my room. I need to dim my lights, turn on the radio, and actually sit and enjoy a meal (even if it is only 20mins out of the hour). When that door opens, I am back. I am clear-headed. I am ready to approach my afternoon with positivity and openness.
Teachers can fill a hundred different roles throughout the day (teacher, secretary, doctor, psychiatrist, coach, chef, disciplinarian, philosopher, politician, comedian, etc) but all of those roles are always to benefit the children we have the joy of spending our time with. With this in mind, if you ever have one of those days where you notice your patience lessening and you are losing sight of yourself... I remind you that sometimes you just need to shut the door...