Ms Jolie and Mr Churchill and a quote that makes sense all of a sudden.

A Re:Blog but nevertheless important… especially at the moment, when school is starting to get a bit crazy.

I have thought for some time that teaching or schools can be a little parasitic in nature. I have days when I walk to the car at the end of the day completely drained of energy, thought, emotion and will. Not from the classes that I teach but the nature of the job that I do and how I do it. I work in a school that is exceptionally supportive but exceptionally busy – not unlike most New Zealand schools I would like to think – but some days I just cant give anymore.

The other day I was recovering from one of those ‘leave everything on the field days’ rewatching the  latest Angelina Jolie film SALT and I got to thinking about an article I had read in one of my wives ‘informative parenting magazines’ about Ms Jolie’ tattoos and their perceived meanings. She has a tattoo ‘V MCMXL’ on her arm that apparently refers to a speech made by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons on May 13 1940. In this speech Churchill addresses the House for the first time as Prime Minister during the height of World War II with the immortal words ‘”I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”.

And I honestly believe that after I have given all my blood, toil, tears and sweat to my career I wonder what I have left for my family. I arrive home a depleted wee man, in dire need of chocolate, sleep and a snuggle with my 6 year old or 3 year old daughter and wife (not necessarily in that order). But they always smile, listen, hug and smile…regardless of what state i’m in when I stagger in the door.

I guess in a way Churchill’s quote is something that inadvertently like thousands of other teachers I live by, but I wonder at what cost to teachers and our families wellbeing it has. When and how do you say enough, and hold some back to give to something else. I know how important it is to have a work life balance but honestly when your job requires you give your best all the time so that you get the best out those you are working for HOW DO YOU DO IT?

I dont expect any answers  – but I found it just a little interesting that a quote from one of the world’s greatest leaders used in a time of chaos and carnage best sums up how I and most the teachers I know feel and end of most days.


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