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If you’re like me, you struggle with knowing how much time, effort, and energy you should give to the job. My lessons are never good enough. I worry that I have not given enough to assessing my students’ progress. And I am constantly tinkering with my craft to make it just a little bit better. When I give so much of myself to the job, I don’t leave time for the other parts of my life that matter. I have missed moments loved ones. There have been plenty of occasions where I am in the same location with my family, but I am NOT present with them.
As my wife and started having children, this started to eat at me more and more. And a few years after my first child was born, I started to ask myself, “Am I Present at Home?”
Shortly after launching Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! Aimee Skidmore (@skidmoreaimee) sent me an email sharing about the time that she almost walked away from teaching. She included details about how it affected life at home, so I reached out to her and Rob inviting them on the podcast to talk about how that difficult time for Aimee was also a difficult time for her loved ones at home.
Aimee has been teaching Language Arts for over 20 years, and Rob does work in international development, which caused a few moves over the years. At present (and I get the impression that they plan to stay), they are in Geneva, Switzerland. A few years ago, Aimee stepped into the role as Head of English in her middle school, and as she invested herself in this new position, things started to grow dim rather quickly.
Over time, Rob noticed that Aimee was perseverating on her work as a teacher, and because she had such high ideals for herself, she worried over everything. He did his best to help her see what really mattered, which eventually led Aimee to make the difficult decision to step down from that role and focus on teaching. When she did, Aimee found new life and energy in the profession, even starting a Forward Thinkers group for like-minded teachers who wanted to get more involved in their own professional development.
Aimee loves connecting with other educators online at Twitter and LinkedIn. She invites anyone who identifies with her struggle to reach out to her.
To hear more stories like Aimee’s, subscribe to the Dear Teacher, Don’t Give Up! podcast.
Also joining us on this episode is my wife, Lindsey Frieden (@Lindseyspalette). When I meet people who ask what my wife does for work, I tell them she’s the CFO — the Chief Family Officer. She spends her days taking really good care of our four children who are 10, 8, 5, and 6 months, at the time of this post. Before she took on this roll, she was a classroom teacher for four years, teaching junior high and high school art. She has stayed active in art through painting, making decorative wood signs, and redecorating the house every chance she gets.
When I was hitting the low point in my career, Lindsey was worried, though always supportive. Often, because of my conflicting ideals and priorities, I would ask for a lot of time away from home to finish my work. Sometimes I had to face tough conversations about my priorities. She’s sharing about how even though I carried the burden of my work, she experienced the stress and anxiety I brought home with me too. We have both learned a bit more about how to approach conversations about these seasons of high stress, and she has some words of wisdom to share with those who may be married to a teacher who is very dedicated to the job.
I hope you enjoy this different view of the life of a teacher!
If you are currently working in education and have ever thought about leaving, or right now, you’re a classroom teacher looking for the nearest exit, I want to hear your story. Please, find me at…
QUESTION: When would you know that you have crossed the line and started caring more about your work than those at home?