I teach high school math (grade levels vary), and I am in my 4th year. Teaching is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Every kid has an answer for “What do you want to be when you grow up”, but most do not actually become it! There are aspects of my job that I enjoy greatly. Throughout the last several years, I have tried really hard to remain motivated, energetic, and positive. When things got tough, I kept telling myself that one day everything would become more manageable. In my 4th year, I am still waiting for that day. My problem is, I can’t figure out a way NOT to work 60 hours a week. I come in super early, I stay late, and I bring work home. And no matter how many hours I work, I still never quite feel as though I am top of things. I am an extremely hard worker, and I’m ok with digging in my heels and giving something everything I’ve got. But for any human being, there’s a limit! I feel like I am exhausted and stressed all the time. I come home and all I want to do is sleep. Even the weekends have become “catch up” time (catch up on cleaning, paying bills, sleeping, grading papers), instead of relax time. I feel like I never have the energy to do anything for myself. My life has become about my job, and trying to recuperate from my job. The stress is starting to affect me more and more. I am starting to become more resentful and less patient. I am letting small things or uncontrollable things get to me. For instance, every time a student asks, “Have you graded our tests yet?” or a parent gets upset that I haven’t responded to their e-mail within 10 seconds of receiving it, part of me just wants to scream out, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HARD I AM WORKING?!? LEAVE ME ALONE!” I know that sounds terrible, but I can’t help but be frustrated when I feel like I am giving 400% without any ounce of appreciation and parents/students are barely giving anything. I constantly feel like everybody always wants more out of me when I feel like I don’t have anything more within me to give! My job is also affecting me emotionally. I have started to feel incredibly depressed, because it appears that the only one thing I’ve had a life-long passion for is starting to eat me alive. Of course the economic situation and all of the recent attacks on the teaching field have not helped. We have been on a wage freeze for the 4 years I have been teaching. I can barely pay my bills (a lot of which, ironically, are the college debt from working toward this career to begin with). One day, I took my salary and divided it by the 60 hours/week I am devoting to get a rough estimate of my "hourly" wage, and let’s just say that I might as well work at a gas station. Throughout the years, I have tried a lot of things to help make my job more manageable. I sat down and made a list of all the tasks I have to do, how much time it takes to do them, and came up with a daily schedule (literally, by the minute) of how I would fit everything in (but of course, it never all fits in). I have an excel spreadsheet that I log all of my hours into, and I reward myself when I can stay under a certain amount of hours (this hasn’t really happened yet). I regularly write, reflect, and set goals. I’ve tried thousands of new “systems” of doing things. I’ve read books. I’ve reached out to my coworkers, but they seem to be just as frazzled! There are some who have even told me that after 20+ years, they still can’t seem to get their job under control. I can’t seem to find a way to make things different. Granted, I could just refuse to work the 60 hours. But first of all, there are a lot of time-killers that I can’t do anything about (just last week alone, I had three meetings after school, and the other days I stayed after to tutor), and if I worked less I fear that I would feel as though I’m even more behind and frazzled than I already am. I’ve tried to reflect on the things that are taking up the most time, and really, there are a lot of little things that add up to a lot of time. However, I suppose I could say that the two biggest time-eaters are grading and planning (which is the probably the case for most teachers). I have really tried to decrease the amount of time I spend in both, but have been unsuccessful. As far as grading goes, I have 175 students. In math, giving multiple-choice assessments is out of the question, and every problem has to be graded thoroughly. It can take up to a 6-hour total time chunk to grade one set of tests. I do not collect and grade assignments, but instead walk around and check them on a daily basis. However, on any given day, I have several students absent, so I have a good stack of make-up work and miscellaneous things I have to grade daily as well. As far as planning goes, I don’t really know. I know there are resources online and such, but using them still doesn’t seem to make my plan time decrease. I know this was long and ranty, but I suppose that I needed to vent a bit. I feel like I’m at my wits end. I really don’t’ think that I can continue like this for even the rest of the school year, let alone for a 20+ year career. Has anybody found a way to make the job more manageable? Or maybe is it time to let go of the dream I thought I had and try to find a job that doesn’t kill me? That depresses me to think about but I don’t know if there are any other options!