During the World War Two era, there was a condition known as battle fatigue. It dealt with warriors who had been constantly bombarded with battle conditions for so long that they started having difficulty in coping with day-to-day activities. The symptoms were irritability, anger, depression, mood swings, and so forth. Now days it’s referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
This is important as we begin to enter the 22nd century and discuss similar conditions with teachers in the classroom. Unlike the teaching conditions of the past, there are many events that occur in our schools that leave teachers feeling helpless. This generates high levels of stress.
PTSD soldiers in history transitioned from respect and understanding to disgust as we entered a world filled with the Korean and Vietnam wars. The general people realized what had occurred and now, most Americans will not stand for someone to disrespect a veteran or our military.
Similarly, I feel that America is seeing the same transition again. Teachers who are belittled, and beleaguered with insane laws, are starting to see a new level of appreciation arise from the people. As an educator, I believe that no one can ever understand what it takes to be a teacher unless they’ve been in education. I would be willing to say the same about our military. How many people understand what it means to go to war?
As the school year winds down, we start to see a resurgence of the anecdotal statement that Teachers get the summer off. What the average person may not understand is that without that down time, there is no way to recover from a PTSD of the classroom: a.k.a. classroom fatigue. The battles that Teachers fight come from the passion that drives most of us. However, look up the definition of passion. It means to have a painful need to accomplish a task. In this case, teach.
As this is teacher appreciation week, I say thank you to each and every one of my peers. You deserve every bit of respect and appreciation you can muster.