After a long break from doing something you enjoy, it might feel exhausting to even think about starting it again. You want to give up with the whole thing because you don’t know where to start or what’s the point anyway. That’s how I was feeling about writing during last semester. I let my free time to be taken over by stress from work. I worked overtime for weeks and struggled with cases that felt impossible to solve. I felt ready to retire after the first year of working as a class teacher.
As my New Year’s Revolution, I promised to take a break from hurrying. Hurrying with studies, work or generally with life seems to be today’s trend which I, apparently, follow easily without even noticing. Easier said than done – we have nearly 30 topics in our teaching plan for this semester… Is it after all in my own hands to keep what I promised?
Stress is a topic that everyone in the world of education is talking about, but not so many seem to have the energy to change the situation. In Finland and Sweden, the teachers feel that the society is expecting too much from them, that the workload is getting too big to manage alone. Even a mentor teacher shouldn’t take everything on his/her shoulders without proper resources and the multi-professional cooperation, for example when it’s about learning disabilities or a student’s health. However, finding the resources and the right kind of multi-professional network, right services and experts who provide the support you are looking for, are challenges when you’re still learning how the system works in general.
Collaboration has helped me to manage the workload. I feel less alone with the professional challenges I face with my class when I can discuss them with other experts. It also feels great when a more experienced colleague wants not only to listen but to solve the problem together with you. No wonder Finland has taken the benefits of team teaching seriously.
Despite the tiredness, I was happy to extend my contract until midsummer, knowing that I’d do the whole academic year with the class who I already know and who feel like my own. I’m pretty excited to see what this semester holds when 1) the political life in Sweden is facing a new beginning, 2) school digitalisation is trying to go hand in hand with GDPR and 3) my 5th graders are reaching puberty. These five months help me to limit my workload and be realistic with it. What I cannot do after the mandataries, will simply be left undone by me. Maybe someone else will take care of it after me, maybe nobody will remember it at all. Nåja, det ordnar sig!