October Blues, What Researchers Say: Teacher Edition

published on 01 November 2022


From the beginning of the school year to Halloween, I felt AWFUL!


I told myself…

At least it couldn’t get any busier from here RIGHT?!?

But it ought to get better from here RIGHT?!?.

Halloween is OVER!

I’m so glad that wasn’t me this last October (October 2022).

I digress though.

I still followed the cycle of a new teacher. It looks something like this according to researchers:

11 1 22 graph-nkb3t

As you can see, October is at the tail end of survival and the beginning of the disillusionment period.

The problem?

I was dealing with the survival stage and the disillusionment stage at the same time, when there is suppose to be this separation.

The Disillusionment stage and the rejuvenation stage merged for me.

 The reflection and anticipation phase combined, and the anticipation phase wasn’t as long for me.

I wondered how I could possibly keep doing what I was doing every SINGLE day for the REST of the year?

Then repeat it again?

And Again?

Year AFTER Year?

Did you feel the same?
If so, you’re not alone.

October is often a month of disillusioment for teachers.

That was my experience and I knew I couldn’t feel like this the rest of my life.

If you were anything like me, the following probably applies to you too:

1. Hopes ran high over the summer when you were dreaming about your classroom and new group of students. Now, all hope is out the window!
2. Broken, lost disorganized supplies clutter your room and you spent your own money with the hopeful promise it would make your year better. It hasn’t
3. The community and rapport-building exercises you started BOY apparently are broken.

4. Connections are being pushed to the wayside and the pressure to curriculum mounts up.
5. Some of your routines and procedures aren’t working well. You can tell and your students may or may not sense it too.

6. The time or mental bandwidth to figure out a better way… for anything is vamoosh!

7. New snags seem to come up every day, even every hour!

I felt a lot like this bleeding apple
I felt a lot like this bleeding apple

This specific school year, there’s an additional set of challenges related to the pandemic that we all hoped we’d be passed by now.

We got that 2021 was going to be hard.

In 2022, that pressure to “catch kids up” and “get back to normal” when conditions are anything but normal is even more present.

In these circumstances, it’s only natural for you to start questioning your capabilities. I questioned too. Questions like this rang through my head:
Can I really keep doing this until May, June when my contract is up?

I’m this tired and I’m not even a third of the way done with the school year?

I’m screwed. Big time. I can do this right?

What have I gotten myself into?

If that’s how you’re feeling right now — once again, totally normal.


Normal doesn’t mean healthy.

Normal doesn’t mean required.

Normal doesn’t mean forever.
Here’s a piece of advice to help (if transitioning out of the school system isn’t an option right now):

My advice: You don’t need to handle the whole year at once.

Handle it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, and go from there.

I promise that you will not be dealing with the same set of problems now in October than say in February or March— your workload will change, your students will change, and YOU will change. 
Some of it has the possibility to be better, a few things will change for the worse, but it will be DIFFERENT.
Don’t worry how you’ll manage X, Y, or Z for 7- 8 more months … focus on taking one day at a time.

Afterall, how would one eat an elephant?

Whole in one mighty gulp?

Section off parts?

One bite at a time?

It might make more sense to eat one bite at a time; keep going.

For others, the answer might be that they eat a whole trunk of the elephant, section off parts

Others might have the resources to eat the whole trunk and motivation.

Nothing wrong with that.

But what if you can’t focus one day at a time anymore?

What if one more bite wasn’t possible?

I would then recommend starting your transition out of the school system.

What if NOW is YOUR time to impact students on a more global level?

What if leaving the school system will give you more of a work life balance, and be financially compensated appropriately?

Either way, make a choice, and stick with that decision.

Be safe and well, my friends, and take care of yourself.

We’re still navigating lots of new territory in schools and society… two years after contending worst Friday the 13th (March 13, 2020).
It’s not just you who is experiencing rough patches along the way … which means you don’t have to deal with struggles alone.

Stay in communication with other educators who build each other up.

Lean on us when you need support.

Let’s keep moving forward, together.



© 2022 J Stauffer Consulting LLC

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