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a teacher who is feeling blue

yoga
Posts: 87
Joined: Feb 2011

I am feeling a little blue these days . . . . I am an elementary teacher and it is hard to see kids getting ready to head back to school and talk to other teachers who are in their classrooms getting things ready for the year. I love teaching - the kids, the families, the laughs everyday, the challenges - I love it all. And, after 22 years, I am really good at it! My first oncologist - who gave me 2.2 years - said I would never be able to work again. My new guy hasn't said that but I still wonder. I have finished a year of chemo and am already working on year two. Any other teachers out there who are feeling the same? How do you do it? I feel somewhat useless not working; it is almost like my identity has disappeared. I have volunteered to work with some of the kids who really struggle and I am also going to be mentoring a younger teacher this fall. . . . but it is not the same and I will have to watch carefully that I don't pick up any of the bugs that float around. Thanks for letting my have my little 'pity-party' it doesn't happen too often.
yoga jo

Connie43
Posts: 44
Joined: Mar 2011

I think the feeling is similar regardless of what your job is. Its when the disease tells us what we can and can't do and we don't like it.

k1
Posts: 220
Joined: Dec 2009

yes

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi there,

I'm also an elementary teacher- taught for 18 years up until my diagnosis 4 years ago. The end of the first school year I missed out on was the hardest- going in on the last day of school to clear out all of my things that my sub had used that year- knowing I wouldn't be returning- I cried buckets of tears that day cleaning out my classroom, so I know how you feel. What grade(s) did you teach? I most recently taught 5th grade for the last 5 years I taught, 7 years of 1st grade prior to that, 3 years of 4th grade before that, & 2 years of 6th grade before that & subbed K-8 a year when I first started.

I kept in close contact with the teachers at my school for the first two years. Now, that I'm going on my 5th school year of not teaching, I really have lost my desire to maintain contact as much and this year for the first time, I didn't feel that pang of longing to teach as the new school year is starting up. I'm actually partially homeschooling my two daughters- they now go to a modified charter school that has class 3 days/week and we homeschool the other 2 days. So I definitely get my fill of academics still, although it definitely isn't the same as running your own classroom full of students. I do miss that still. I especially miss reading aloud to the kids- that was always my favorite part of the day.

And "pooh-pooh" to the onc that gave you 2.2 years- what does he know?! Only God knows how each person is going to do- we're all different!

Hugs to you & I'm saying a prayer right now for your spirits to be lifted.
By the way- after 4 years of this I have found another way to have purpose- I just started a cancer support group at my church- we had our second mtg tonight & had 10 people there- it went real well! I have been pondering my "purpose" lately... I know I am wife to my husband and a busy mom to three kids, but I needed more than that. I have found volunteering when I can and starting this group have been very helpful to me in that.

You take care & hang in there- please free to send me a pm (private message) anytime you want to talk-

Hugs,
Lisa

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

another elementary teacher here.....not working and so identify with what you are saying. I retired when I was diagnosed in 2005.....in 2006 Jo was I was given 6 months to live and apparently I still am living....stage 4 but still going.

this is a sweet sad time of the year.....for kids and teachers all new all exciting....better than New Year for sure....but it is all a time of sadness....summer over, not working....not being with the kids....and also i am struggling with income and lack thereof.....hahah you are not alone here girl....Good for you Lisa for starting your group....i have often thought i should do that and then i wonder if I have the energy to do it.....i admire your spirit....

are you a big fan of yoga....Jo?...I am signing up for my fall session at the y....

with best love and a hug

maggie

RickMurtagh's picture
RickMurtagh
Posts: 590
Joined: Feb 2010

And we are sooo glad to still have you around! Even a poor Maggie is better than no Maggie at all!

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Congrats on starting your cancer support group. What a wonderful fulling thing to do. Proud of you.
Winter Marie

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Thanks for the compliment, Winter Marie! :)

Lisa

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I really think it's fantastic, you're so giving and it's as Martha Stewart would say "a good thing", but I'd go further and say "it's a beautiful thing". People like you make our world that we all live in a better place. And I thank you for that.
Winter Marie

yoga
Posts: 87
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your thoughts . . . . . I have taught grades 1 - 6 but most recently have been teaching a grade 5/6 class, usually with about 32 students. Quite a challenge, but something I loved. I was actually supposed to have been on a self financed leave this past year - which I was really looking forward to - but ended up having to cash it in and go onto LTD. Not exactly what I had planned for myself.

My teaching friends have been great; driving me to appointments, cooking for us, calling, visitng and even some housecleaning! The kdis at school have been very concrned, sending my cards, notes and pictures. Miss them!

Talking with a friend today I came to the realization that I just have to find a new way to define myself. I think volunteering at the school with some of the older kids will be good for me and I am also considering volunteering at the local women's shelter - maybe I can do some tutoring with the children who aren't able to get to a school right now, giving their moms a break and keeping the chidlrne's minds off of their troublese for a while.

You certainly are a role model for me with the way you have reprioratized your life and found meaning in new ways.

Again, thank you for your kind thoughts.
yoga jo

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008

Hi again,

Glad I could be of help to you & I'm glad to hear how much your teacher friends are helping you- teachers really are one of a kind, aren't they? :)

Good for you with thinking about volunteering. That will be good for you!

Take care & keep in touch :)
Lisa

RickMurtagh's picture
RickMurtagh
Posts: 590
Joined: Feb 2010

Yoga Jo,
There are people who do nothing after a cancer diagnosis and go on living and there ar others who do every thing they can and up and die anyway. Don't listen to that kind of crap that doctor was selling. You might die from cancer or you might not. THAT is the truth of it. Do all you can with what is given to you.

Best wishes,
Rick

Btw - Lisa, you are so sweet. After reading your response to Yoga Jo, I felt like I just ate a pop tart.

ketziah35
Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

My mom is an retired award winning elementary school principal. I seem to remember something similar to your feelings, but she left for retirement not cancer. I think it was part of the separation process at work. She was getting health problems at the end of her career and felt the same way as you. She replaced teaching with doing some volunteer work (small scale) until her diAgnosis in may 2010.

Buzzard's picture
Buzzard
Posts: 3073
Joined: Aug 2008

I salute you for a job that takes tremendous dedication to ever take on the responsibilities that are lain on a teacher. To teach students all things good and then to as well have to fight the system to allow you to teach what you think is right but being held back to teach the agenda that "they" want you to teach. As well the salaries that teachers are paid is proof that they really have a special place for the children to do what they do for so little pay..... It is parents like me who appreciate everything that you do for our children and everything you have done in the past for them as well. Without teachers and people with your type of dedication we would be in a heck of a mess, and our poor children, bless them all. I as a parent understand what most teachers pay out of their own pocket to aid in the teaching of our kids, and there in the system seems to be that making money is now over riding the necessity to actually assure the kids get an education. So, the teachers like you that really care about their students are left "holding the bag" if you will and a lot of parents never realize that the system is the problem not the teachers. Bless you, and know that no matter whether you ever return to the school or not, that you have given children during your tenure, the ability and head start to make great citizens of them selves, and I promise, they will forever remember you for that. I know I remember everyone of them I loved.......thank you for what you did, and for the reason you did it.....buzz, and his children :)

yoga
Posts: 87
Joined: Feb 2011

Buzz,
I don't know how to respond . . . . except to say thank you on behalf of all teachers. You brought a few tears to my eyes. I hope that you let you childern's teachers know how much they are appreciated. Often it is the case that we hear only the complaints and don't hear the good stuff.
It is my goal to beat the odds and get back to doing what I love.
yoga jo

RickMurtagh's picture
RickMurtagh
Posts: 590
Joined: Feb 2010

Yeah, that happens a lot with Buzz. Usually it is just his gas, but with Buzz you never know.

relaxoutdoors08
Posts: 520
Joined: May 2011

Hello,
I retired before my dx of Colon Cancer. I do not miss the stress of large class sizes and the lack of funds for the classroom. Most teachers become substitute teachers for a few years as a transition to retirement. I miss the excitement of starting a new year but after 3 years I no longer miss teaching but instead have maintained connections with fellow teachers and we get together 4 times during the school year to celebrate birthdays and provide support for one another.

I also am active with the retired teachers association and politically we are working on funding issues for education and issues involving medical care for students who do not have family medical insurance coverage.
NB

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

our crc just turns our life upside down.
I do miss somethings from my old before crc life. maybe the innocence.
maybe the lack of awareness of mortality and age.

well i guess we are all aware of these now.
if you cannot work, I hope you can fill your days with wonderful things.

come for a walk, get some fresh air and sun, the blue feeling may go if you see some blue sky or in my case some blue water.

hugs,
pete

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I think we all feel the missing of our old lives, then eventually we start new ones in new directions, like Lisa starting a support group at her church, I started going to college (I'm someone that had just her GED)Pete's spending more time with his children, the list goes on.
Someday, your new one will come to be and you will feel fulfilled once again, but it's okay to miss your old life now and then again, we all do and I think we've all had our pity parties (their good to have once in a while don't you think? Get it back out of our systems and start new again the next day).
Thinking of you.
Winter Marie

tootsie1's picture
tootsie1
Posts: 5065
Joined: Feb 2008

Oh, dear. I'm so sorry for the way you're feeling now. I taught preschool for years and gave it up to move to another state to take care of grandchildren. Not at all the same reason for not teaching, but I know how much it hurt me at first. It's gotten better with time. Praying it will be so for you, or that your health may allow you to teach in the future.

*hugs*
Gail

Daffodil324's picture
Daffodil324
Posts: 59
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi yoga Jo,

I'm a high school special education teacher and I've been teaching for over 30 years. I was diagnosed just around the time school started two years ago, stage 3C. I was out of school for the first half of the school year with surgery followed by complications from surgery, recovery, getting chemo started (Folfox), and then getting white blood cell and platelet issues straightened out. When school was starting without me I really missed being there. My friends at school kept me up to date with what was going on, but I just wanted so badly to be there with my kids. It was especially hard when I heard about the problems the substitute was having with my class of kids with moderate/severe special needs. But I gradually learned to slow down and let go of what I couldn't control at school, and actually ended up enjoying having time to do things at home that fall. Not working was a big and unwelcome change from what I was used to, but once I adjusted to it I found some positive things about it.

I went back to work after Christmas, taking off a few days every other week while I had the pump on (my chemo continued until the beginning of April). I was happy to be back with my kids and to get my classroom straightened out. It was hard for me at times with the chemo, but I did it--I was pretty exhausted by the time summer vacation came around though!

I'm NED now and back to teaching full time. In spite of what your doctor said, I hope you might be able to get back to teaching too!

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