UPDATE: Thank you everyone for all your great advice. I don't know where I lost my boundaries, but I'm gonna work on that. Also I haven't been sleeping very well, so I need to make more time for that and take better care of myself. Thanks again. You all rock.
I've always imagined compassion as bucket that fills and drains. When I am compassionate a little bit of that bucket drains, but it's refilled fairly quickly. I've got so many people taking and not enough filling it up. I'm not sure how to fill it up, because it seems like it naturally regenerated. Or that my compassion for others often paid off (they improved or showed up etc).
I am so exhausted. I normally only teach one class a term, and I wasn't prepared to teach three. I have some really demanding students and I am at my wit's end.
I'm normally very understanding and accommodating, but so many students have needed a little extra that I just can't any more. I don't want to understand their entire life. I don't want to know every terrible thing that has happened to them. I don't want to do extensions or any thing extra any more.
It's exhausting when I don't have the training to have so many students come and discuss their mental health issues with me. I do what I can, and I send them to counselling. Give them support numbers. I try to make sure they are safe.
It triggers my PTSD and episodes take a lot out of me. I'm better at dealing with it, but it's tiring.
The ones that have learning issues and concentration issues I've sent them to academic support. I'm sick of reading another note about how they didn't go to student services and get the accommodations they needed. That if I only gave them one more chance (I've given some of them 2 or 3) that they'd do better next term. Or that they've always been like this and I should just mark them differently without official accommodations. That I'd be holding them back. I'm not. I've pointed to everything that could set them free and they don't do it.
That I hurt their feelings. Their feelings aren't my responsibility, and me telling you that you'd do better by attending and taking notes isn't an insult.
I've had so many students get angry with me because they are failing my class, as though it's my fault, but they never picked up their assignments or regularly attend class. I offer them advice and they never show. Then send me letters begging to pass, explaining all sort of issues like deaths, and other things. They don't go through any of the official channels, but describe these tragedies in gruesome detail.
I've had a student beg me for a re-test and then they didn't show for the re-test. Then came back begged for another one weeks later and then cried when I said no.
I've done everything to help, and the just don't help themselves. I'm tired. I don't make very much. In fact if I quit this job and went full time in my other job I'd be better off.
As much as I love teaching and taking students that have failed a test and turning them into C, B, or A students, I'm exhausted.
I know I'll see a lot of them next year, and they'll do the same thing. (Others of course will take the fail as a lesson and literally blow my mind with renewed interest, the come back students are my favs.)
Part of it is the knowledge that no matter how hard I work, I will never be hired full time. I've been at this for 7 years, which is nothing in comparison to my part time colleagues who have done this for 10 or 20 years.
I got an essay from a student that failed every exam with lows of 12% that explained he didn't need to attend my class because it was simplistic and basic. That I didn't know anything, that they knew more than me because of X and Y, that because I didn't discuss A, B, C, and I choose to talk about D, E, and F, that I was incorrect (I'm not) and that because of this it made him too angry to attend any class. That it was beneath him. That I should grow from his critique and that I shouldn't take it as a personal insult but I could if I wanted. It bordered on sheer harassment disguised as a critique of my work. I was baffled. Why waste all that time to tell me how smart you are when you've failed everything because you choose not to do the work. You were mad because of one sentence and one class and decided to miss all the other classes? Most of the test was left blank. I was annoyed because I had to read it and mark it, and I honestly didn't want to because it was a waste of my time. I was annoyed because he blamed me for something that his fault. They were too arrogant to attend a college class and they failed their self because of their arrogance. They had to nerve to explain to my why it was my fault they failed. It was entirely theirs.
It hurt my feelings because it was unnecessary. I know my stuff. I know I have gaps in my knowledge because I'm not the internet. I am always open to critique. But to take out months worth of anger on me in an essay is not cool.
I am generalist, not a specialist. My class is basic, because it's for first years. It's general, because I teach to the entire spectrum of students. It ranges from people who can barely read to people that could attend the most prestigious of schools. I often get exceptionally smart students who tell me that they found it easy and I'm okay with that, because I explain that for some of their colleagues that this is the most difficult class for them. That they should be pleased they found it easy and if they are bored (which none of them have complained of boredom) I can give them a harder test that's geared for their intellect. One took me up on the opportunity and enjoy the class more so. Other's don't, because it's nice to get a 90.
Using my therapy skills, I know I am good at what I do. I'm just spread too thin this year. I know that I am physically exhausted and also physically ill. That my illness is making it seem worse than it is.
But Fuck, it's really tiring to deal with a group of people who take no responsibility for anything they do.
How do you deal with draining work? Right now, I'm of the mind to change my personal policy of giving everyone a second chance, and sometimes a third chance and saying no to everyone for the rest of my career. Or until my compassion recharges.
I feel like I should just go to the gym (which I dislike) and run it out.
I wish I didn't care. That my give a damn button was broken. But it isn't broken. I'm exhausted because I do care.