Can I start by saying how much I love talking to people who know what they are doing? I could sit and listen to Antero Garcia talk for hours and hours on end and never get bored. He has so many fantastic ideas when it comes to education. As a preservice teacher who is desperate to get her hands on any sort of information she can, I love being able to pick his brain when it comes to topics I am studying and researching.
In the limited amount of time we had, those of us researching what being an advocate means asked Antero what he thinks needs to be fixed in our education system. He laughed for a second before listing off a series of issues such as underfunding, standardized testing, curriculum not designed by teachers, the seemingly foreign concept of actually listening to students, the huge debt we place on anyone determined to get a higher education… He paused for a second, looked down at the table, and his face fell. His eyes darkened with something I can only describe as the pain of looking back over years of experience and the experiences of others.
“We need to take care of ourselves. We give so much to those around us that we forget to give ourselves a break.”
I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. Here I was, working four jobs, helping to teach a class, taking more credits than any sane person would ever consider, trying to maintain a shriveling social life, and figuring out how to finish all my homework in a timely manner. I was barely sleeping, eating when I could, and living around my work schedules. Taking time for myself was the furthest thing from my mind.
But he has a point.
As teachers, we give everything for those around us. It is just in our nature as educators. Yet in order to be effective, we have to be at our best. How can we do that if we are sleep-deprived, hungry, stretched thin, going crazy with everything we have to do? We need to take a step back, give ourselves a chance to breathe, and then recenter ourselves before we continue. We can only begin to impact the world if we first impact ourselves. We need to be at peace before we can expect the same of those around us.
This thought has been running through my head ever since this interview. Things have gotten insanely busy for me personally, and I have often sacrificed my own happiness and sanity for the sake of the others, my grades, and my work. How can I expect to produce work that I am truly proud of if I don’t even have the strength to do it? In a society where “Sleep when you’re dead” and “Pain is temporary-GPA is forever,” it is so very necessary to rest and take time to recharge and rest.
So rest, my dear readers, rest. God only knows how much we all need it.