My Semi-Annual Existential Crisis (and how my students help me survive it)

25 Jun

Deep Speaks!At the end of every semester, two things happen like clockwork:

1. I lose my voice. We call it the “Deep Sick” at the office; we all crash after the wild scramble of throwing 20 end-of-term parties and editing 200 kids’ portfolios during the last week of class (and yes, those are actual numbers, not exaggerations.) Deep’s newest employee, Jo, discovered the Deep Sick to her chagrin last December.

2. I fall into an existential funk where I start asking myself questions like, “What am I doing with my life? Is this work important? What is important? Is this my highest and best use? Why does creative writing matter? Why do I matter? What is the purpose of existence?”  &c., &c.

Yeah, I know–it’s mostly self-indulgent navel-gazing. Still, as hippy-dippy as the questions sound, I think that it is important to ask them–I’ve got only another 65 years or so on this planet, max, and I’d like to use each one of them as well as I can. But that doesn’t change the fact that asking those questions can be a little crippling, sometimes.

So here’s how I get over it: I host Deep’s book release party, where we publish our students’ writing from the previous semester (see photo).

There is nothing in the world that cures me as quickly as watching my students share their work with their family and friends. Seeing that they have created something that they are proud of, and that is meaningful to them, is enough.

I think that if every teacher found a way to publish and celebrate their students’ work–even if it was just stapling some poems into handmade books and having a reading in the school cafeteria–it might go a long way towards preventing burnout.

What do you think? How do you feel at the end of the school year, and what do you do to remind yourself of why you teach?



3 Responses to “My Semi-Annual Existential Crisis (and how my students help me survive it)”

  1. jo July 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    I love your new blog theme! So cute.


  1. A Class Purpose and the Promotion of Student Flourishing « Teaching the Core - June 28, 2012

    […] My Semi-Annual Existential Crisis (and how my students help me survive it) ( […]

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