Mental Health and Teaching Update

I know this isn’t my normal type of post but I wanted to reflect a little on how I’ve been doing recently now that I’ve been teaching college English from home for an entire year. If you’re not interested in this type of post, I hope I catch you next time but if you are interested, hello!

I have been in an actual classroom four times in the past year and while I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to stay home and stay safe, it’s been ROUGH. Much of my teaching strategy involves putting students in groups to break down concepts and information, or practice applying concepts together and report back. I really enjoying seeing how they think and how they both understand and communicate information and it’s absolutely my favorite part of my job. I’ve been so sad not to really have that.

Being online means that I have to create way more small practice assignments that they would normally do in the classroom so I’m spending WAY more time grading than I normally would. That’s probably a lot of teacher’s, instructor’s, professor’s, least favorite part of the job and that feels like all I do.

A month or two ago, I got really sad because I am a contracted worker and it’s never certain if I’ll have classes in the upcoming semester and this thought crossed my mind – what if I don’t get to go back to the classroom again? I wanted to cry. I didn’t want my last year teaching college English to be so sad.

I recently found out that it looks like I’ll be back in person with three small classes starting mid-August and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t wait to do what I love again. It does mean I’ll be spending the summer redesigning my 101 courses and figuring out what I want to do when we return but it’s so much better than the prospect of having to either look at black squares on Zoom or no one at all.

I know this will probably be the busiest I’ve been since I’ve started this blog and that’s intimidating to a certain degree but I want to still be active here in some capacity.

I’ve talked a bit about how changing teaching modalities has impacted my mental health but I want to talk about some other things I’ve been struggling with recently. I do want to go ahead and provide some trigger warnings for disordered eating and skin picking so if that’s something you’re not able to or don’t want to read about, I’ll catch you in my next post!

Having actual conversations with people I know about food stresses me out because I know that I don’t eat regularly. For MONTHS I would just eat a nutrigrain bar and a handful of chips in the mid-morning and then some crackers or something small in the late afternoon. I’d then go on to eat a fairly regular dinner. This is a cycle I keep falling into while I’m working from home probably because I don’t have real indicators of when to eat. Sometimes, I can have a week or so where I eat two meals (breakfast and dinner OR lunch and dinner) each day and I get really excited but then fall back into poor habits. I know I’ve probably talked about this here before but I just wanted to bring it back up because it continues to be an issue. I am exercising three days a week, most weeks but still eating this way and lately I’m realizing that my protein is lacking because I get exhausted and then wake up and crave beef which is really annoying because I don’t like to eat beef that often. I’m still trying to work through this and be more aware of my habits but it’s really difficult to stay on track especially because I think I’ve lost touch with my hunger cues. I don’t realize I’m hungry until I’m weak or shaking and then I’ll eat something. I have to really psych myself up to each a meal during the day when I’m alone and I wish it wasn’t like that. I’m at a loss.

On a more positive note, I think my skin picking is under control. For the past 10 or 11 months, I’ve had issues where my scalp would be really dry and then I’d pick all the skin off until it was inflamed and gross. Not great. I didn’t know how to stop even when it was painful. I finally had this memory of an over-the-counter shampoo my mom got me when I was a child that helped with my scalp. Here’s a link if you’re wondering. It can be expensive depending on what you’re used to paying for shampoo but I kid you not, two washes and I haven’t picked my scalp once. It’s such a relief to get that situation under control.

I know this is A LOT of information but I recently discovered a lot of other people were having scalp issues and I talked about it with some people on Instagram and it was comforting to hear other people do this and to share remedies/relief tips so I figured I share a bit of what’s going on with me here in case anyone else has been struggling.

This was a bit different and personal but I just wanted to share some things that I’ve been thinking about recently. How are you guys? What’s life looking like a year into this chaos?

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I'm somehow done with school and I still want to talk about books.

4 thoughts on “Mental Health and Teaching Update”

  1. I’m glad you’re going to get to do some in-person college teaching before your year is over! I totally relate to what you said about teaching online classes – although I think I’m probably not going to get out of spending my last semester of university completely online 🙈
    And I really appreciate you being so open about your mental health! I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing better with your skin, and I can relate to the forgetting to eat part 😅 I’m very lucky I’m currently staying with my parents, because fixed mealtimes and me not having to cook all the time is really helpful! I really think setting a schedule and sticking to that until you fall back into some sort of routine could be helpful 😉 But it’s great to hear that you’re doing well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I spent my last semester as a student online, too and it was frustrating but also, I was so anxious about everything at the time that I was thankful most of my professors were being more understanding because I was PRESSED.
      It’s so good to have fixed meal times! My partner coming home from work is probably the only reason I eat actual dinners. I do keep an eye on the clock and know *when* I should eat but I’ll either put it off until like 4PM or just have this inner monologue of “two fistfuls of granola is lunch, right?” I’ve been working this morning and said 90 minutes ago I wanted to make coffee and I still haven’t. I’m starting to annoy myself lol 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I’ve definitely done the “two fistfuls of granola for lunch” thing, too 😁 But I do always make sure to have a proper breakfast and dinner, so I guess it’s not that bad? 😅 I’m sure we’ll get there eventually!


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