Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give, and nobody will care for you. ~ Author Unknown
As we move towards another Christmas season, I am once again struck by the number of members who reference the degree of exhaustion they feel and how much they need some time to unwind and decompress. We all know the 2020-21 school year has been like no other, and I thank our members for your continued commitment to your students and your profession. However, the increased demands on your time mean the old saying ‘June tired in April’ has been replaced with ‘June tired in November’.
I have continued my practice of visiting schools and speaking directly with our membership at every opportunity. The visits have been structured differently, but the importance of that direct contact remains. A constant message I am hearing is that our membership is glad to be back with our students and our students are glad to be back in school, but there remains an anxiety as to where things will go should a case of COVID-19 happen in our schools. This anxiety, coupled with increased protocols and demands, have created pressures on all of you.
Burning the candle at both ends may make things appear brighter in the short-term, but inevitably it leads to burnout! Recognizing this reality, we all need to take a step back and re-evaluate how we approach things. There are things we can take control of and I urge you to do that.
With this in mind, we all need to evaluate those tasks that we take on. We can only spread ourselves so thin. Extracurricular activities do add value to our schools and our practice as teachers, but are voluntary. During a time like this, relaxing public health precautions in schools is counter-productive. Taking care of our own health and well-being is vital. To be good to your job you need to be good to your family, and to be good to your family you need to be good to yourself.
The Association will continue to work towards tangible measures that will move the dial on the demands being placed on you. More on that as the year unfolds. I can share that at this juncture we are engaged in negotiating our next collective agreement. If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to view the documents and video presentation that outlines the opening proposals that have been exchanged. These proposals were crafted through the work of the collective bargaining committee and I am thankful for their work. Your Negotiating Team have now taken their work and will use it to move towards attaining the best possible agreement for our membership within the current context we find ourselves in.
In closing, I want to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Steve Brooks for his service to the Association. He has chosen to retire as NLTA Executive Director and I am sure I echo all of your sentiments in wishing him all the best in his future endeavours.
In a few short weeks the Holiday Season will be upon us. I urge each and every one of you to take the time to cherish the time with your families. Use the season to remind yourselves of that which is truly important. Happy Holidays to all of you. My hope is the Season offers you rest and relaxation and we enter 2021 with renewed hope.
Until next time…