I'm not sure if people understand why I am SO tired after work. And if one more person says, "But you get off at 3 and only work 9 months a year..." We might leave at 3 but it's to go somewhere else to do our work - for many people at the same time they take care of their own kids. And often we don't even get to do that - we have after school meetings, tutoring, home visits, etc.
Anyway, there are two big reasons for the exhaustion. One is constantly being on the go. Teachers often don't even have two minutes free to go to the bathroom until the kids leave. (Hence the very high rate of bladder infections among teachers). I usually don't eat lunch until after school - we have a 30 minute lunch period and it's generally spent dealing with kids, getting the room ready for the next thing, making copies, getting homework ready... And we always have to be enthusiastic, fairly understanding, firm, and somewhat entertaining. That gets tiring!
The other reason, at least for me, is emotional. I know it's hard for people to hear about this kind of stuff, but if you can't hear it, you need to not read this because this is what my work is like. I've talked about some of the kids' problems - one of them just broke my heart yesterday. He has mentioned that his dad has threatened to do some things to him for which I had to call Social Services. And like most kids in that situation, when Social Services came to his house, he got in big big trouble. He says to me, "I want to tell you about what goes on in my house but you have to promise not to tell anyone." I told him that everything he tells me is private except if anyone's hurting him or if he wants to hurt himself, because the law is that I have to tell someone, we want to protect the kids, blah blah blah. Knowing that we're not protecting the kids because they'll probably get beat for telling, but it is the law. He said, "Then you can't help me at all and no one can help me," and put his head down for the rest of the morning. Later I found a crumpled piece of paper that had been a letter to me until we had this conversation and it started with, "My parents hurt me and they always do it..." If you pray, prayers for this child would be appreciated.
I know that's hard to read, so later I'll post the dumpster diving story which is highly amusing, to lighten things up a little....