A few years into my teaching career, I came up with the acronym DEVOLSON (the Dark, Evil Vortex of Late September, October, and November) to identify that time of year when the shiny newness of back-to-school has worn off, teacher and student exhaustion have peaked, and beginning-of-the-year assessments and paperwork are everywhere. But we don’t have time for chitchat.
Between a continuing global pandemic, jackhammer parents, education-related events that are too dismal for me to mention, and, perhaps the most draining, fatigue from enduring two years of the aforementioned, I can’t in good conscience recommend you plan cutesy DEVOLSON parties or use DEVOLSON bingo cards this year.
We’re in the mother of all DEVOLSONs right now, people. These are the only appropriate measures.
Scream into the abyss.
Totally fine if your abyss is the empty hallway during your conference period while other classes are still in session. Shake things up a bit.
Start experimenting with magic.
Brew a potion and charge it under the full moon to give you superhuman strength until Thanksgiving. Hold a séance for Betty White and ask her ghost to give you a hug and a pep talk. Cast a spell to clear your email inbox. If there’s ever a time to employ the supernatural, it’s now.
Lie face down in the middle of your classroom.
Maybe someone peering in will think you kicked the bucket, which is the only reason they won’t barge in during your conference period.
Just start replying to emails with “Absolutely not” or “I’m good, thanks.”
They won’t fire you. We’re in a historic teacher shortage. Carry on.
Invest in a blanket that feels like you’re being hugged by an angel.
Put whatever you want in your snack drawer.
Now is not the hour for restraint. Do you usually find you consume a family-size bag of spicy trail mix in under 24 hours? Put it in the drawer. No self-control with crunchy Cheetos? Put it in the drawer. Do you intentionally avert your eyes in the grocery store checkout from the new “mix” bags of M&Ms that contain plain, peanut, and peanut butter? PUT. IT. IN. THE. DRAWER.
Laugh so hard you cry then fall asleep.
Did you ever read that Boxcar Children book where the one little girl laughs so long that her siblings get worried, and then she cries and falls asleep? That’s what we’re aiming for here. (I think the little girl in the book gets dangerously ill, but don’t do that. We don’t have any subs.)
Note: Please don’t do all of these things. They were mostly written to make you laugh. Take care of yourselves. Drink water. Use your days off. Set boundaries. Hug your people. If you can make it to Thanksgiving this year, you can do literally anything.
I think you’re the most important people on the planet. Truly.