It's hard to always be positive. The more I challenge students, the more the parents challenge me about grades. The more time I spend working on things for the classroom, the less time I have on my own writing.
I confessed to Mark Doty (a few weeks ago at his reading/craft talk) that teaching at the high school level sometimes, many times drains me. He said that I have to be able to on occasion say, "Make this. Okay good, now go make another one."
And then there is Facebook, and being department head, and....you get it. I'm always so friendly and optimistic. I'm full of ideas and help.
I'm not sure where I can really be myself. I don't even allow complaints on my blog either, really.
The truth is, I am mostly optimistic and I do truly love helping students, but somewhere in the past near decade I have lost the ability to allow myself the once-in-a-while public sigh. Or the, "I'm sorry, I just don't have time." As a result of this public image martyr syndrome, the people closest to me suffer.
For me, being a great teacher means being an okay writer, a sometimey friend, an unfocused girlfriend, and a distant daughter. Add running into the equation and time is even more scarce. I must find balance. There are so many wonderful teachers who are also wonderful at their other roles in life. I must figure this out.