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Exhaustion is no joke.

For teachers, any time following that first week in the classroom can feel like you’re on the brink of sleeping for around two months. Often, non-teachers think we have a smooth deal, great hours, and the whole summer off, right?

That couldn’t be further from the truth, with the average teacher not only working around 11 total hours of overtime a week but also spending our whole summer prepping to start the cycle all over again. It’s enough to make anyone a little on the tired side.

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But what makes us so tired in the first place?

Here are just a few reasons why your average educator is running on empty the majority of the school year:

  • We’re the recipient of emotions on all sides – from student breakdowns to administrator pressure, we’re expected to manage and care for everyone around us, which would be draining for anyone.
  • There’s more pressure than ever for educators to follow increasingly stringent standardized requirements. This means long hours learning new things, catching up on marking, and generally planning for the weeks ahead.
  • Teaching is a full-on job; your students know when your heart isn’t in it. It needs all your willpower to keep control of your class and make the right decisions. By the end of the year, that’s seriously in a deficit for many teachers.

These reasons are why teachers need coffee in the morning more than many other adults. But when it comes to what our exhaustion means for our careers and students, there’s a bit more to it. Plenty of parents know the feeling of tiredness, and we get that too – but that tiredness can lead to plenty of hilarious circumstances that make life a little bit brighter.

The forgetful teacher

One of the hallmarks of tiredness is forgetting and misplacing things. Keys in the fridge are a common mishap, as is the dirty coffee cup on your desk instead of in the staff kitchen. From driving to the wrong school to calling your teaching aide the wrong name several times – to their face – forgetfulness is common in class when we’re a little bit too tired. That’s not even getting into calling the kids by the wrong name or accidentally saying ‘love you instead of ‘goodbye’ to a concerned parent.

The words-aren’t-quite-there teacher

Speaking in front of 20-30 small children is difficult at the best of times. But when you’re overtired, words easily escape you. Who hasn’t nearly sworn in a classful of 3rd-graders, anyway? Or accidentally said ‘orgasm’ instead of ‘organism,’ no matter how hard you tried to avoid it. Replacing more complicated words with easier ones is a classic trope, too, from band-aid to ‘blood sticker’ and coffee to ‘morning juice.’ Whatever helps you get through the day. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to keep all those long words in your head. Some days, going the simple route is just easier for everyone.

The ‘it doesn’t work like that’ teacher

Some days, wishful thinking wins out over logic. While, no, you can’t mute that loud child using your smart remote, and you definitely can’t unlock the door of your classroom with your car fob, we try anyway. Eventually, logic prevails, but we get some hilarious anecdotes of your exhaustion. Equally, tapping a word in a paper book won’t bring up a definition, and you really can’t CTRL-Z what you just wrote on your student’s paper in bold, red ink. Oops.

What are some of the ridiculous things that have happened to you when you’re in tired teacher mode?