We all know that since internet our professional life as teachers invades our private life – but what about the other way round? Do you answer private mails, tweets, Whatsapp at work? Do you always turn on the professional switch and turn off the private switch when in front of the class?
What a year! 2012 has been a weird, uncomfortable year for me. I took on a new (second) job as the promised hours in my main job never materialised. This meant having to cut back on other things in my life, such as my work for a national committee for primary school teacher trainers. In June we discussed looking for someone to fill my shoes, in August I realised I ‘was’ the committee as my good friend and chairman of the board had been involved in a tragic ferry accident during a trip from Zanzibar to Tanzania and had drowned, together with her husband.
My new job started in September – back in front of a class of teenagers at secondary school. It is a perfect combination with the teacher training I do. Though it is also not an easy combination as two jobs in education more or less mean three jobs – we all know that teaching is not simply 9-5! Anyway, I’m starting to get back into the flow, have sort of worked out the organisation, and was looking forward to the two week Christmas break in order to get some planning and preparation done so that I could have less stress over the coming weeks. Planning and preparation ≠ holiday!
We all know what happens with plans. Already a little more than a week into the two week break and I can already say that I have done nothing more than the marking I did on December 27th. Why? Well the other major disaster of 2012 has upset things. In the afternoon of December 28th 2012, a date our family will never forget, we got a call from our sister-in-law to say that our beautiful 17-year-old niece had had an epileptic fit and drowned in the hot tub where she was later found by her father. I am unable to concentrate and focus and need to spend time looking after my children who were incredibly close to their cousin.
Enough gritty details – this post is not about self pity.
I know from prior experience (following the death of my mother and then my father-in-law and more recently my friend who drowned in the summer) that work provides a healing distraction for me and I am able to block out my personal issues when helping others. I’m hoping that this time will be no different. My way of dealing with things is by not informing my colleagues who will then be able to treat me as normal and have the usual high requirements. This helps me. Everybody deals with things differently.
- But how do you deal with issues in your private life, which, without it being intentional, ooze into your professional life?
- How do you deal with the fact that you’re not a robot, just a mere human?
- What about the other way round – how do you deal with family and guilt when you’re pre-occupied with a work-related issue?
- Does your ‘private you’ actually complete your ‘professional you’?
Have you learned to turn the professional-private switch on and off?