2017 Justin Stresses at Work
This article is for information only and doesn’t call for any action.
One of the first sources of external stress after being given the all clear from cancer was returning to work. To be fair, part of it was my fault – I went back to work much earlier than I should have.
I was teaching fourth grade at the time, which is definitely a high energy job. However, I did not have much energy at all since fatigue was a persistent companion from chemo. The only reason I went back so early was that I had run out of medical leave and didn’t want to start losing out on pay.
To try to balance going back to full time work, I decided to leave immediately after the students were dismissed. This is abnormal for teachers who sometimes like to stay two hours past the last student. I simply didn’t have it in me, so I had to go. As I walked out, I could see judgemental looks from other teachers. This didn’t help my nerves.
As if judgement from my peers wasn’t enough, I encountered two meetings where I was repeatedly criticized within a week of returning. The first was from an angry parent who wasn’t happy that I hadn’t updated report cards before I went on medical leave. I tried explaining that I had no time to do that because I was literally fighting for my life, but she just wanted to berate everything about my teaching. When I followed up with my principal, he chose to side with the parent instead of me, which only added to my frustration.
It was maddening to have to deal with these matters while I was putting forth my best effort and trying to keep it all together. While my students were great to return to, these external stresses didn’t help ease my growing feelings of unease.
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December 29, 2018 at 03:34AM