Why I Am Giving Up "The Hustle"

"It never gets easier, but you get better."

Being a teacher is like running a business. A teacher manages 22+ miniature employees on many levels: presenting new information, monitoring progress, and evaluating mastery of content. It's our job to make sure that our students are learning & growing, just as it is a manager's job to administer training, support, and evaluate her employees. Just like a manager, a teacher is evaluated based on the success & growth of her students, or employees. You get the picture. I could go on & on with this analogy, but the point is that I often can relate to my business-minded, entrepreneur friends. I could go on & on about how the responsibilities of a teacher are overwhelming, and that our work is never done. Teachers never "arrive" at a level of full competency; we are constantly in training, professional development, learning, striving, adapting, all to meet the needs of our students. At the end of the day, all we have is never enough, as it is with many entrepreneurs & business-owners.

However, the work is abundantly rewarding when you see your efforts producing positive results. This journey is often referred to as "The Hustle," and let me tell you: since I started my career in education, I've hustled my booty off. I let that hustling consume me: at school 10-12 hours a day, Lesson Planning on weekends, checking emails late at night, making myself 110% available to everyone, etc. I have put my career even above my health: too tired at the end of the day to cook a meal, got home too late to work out, only slept 5-6 hours a night, etc. All of the excuses I have charged to the "hustle." I always think to myself, "I have NO idea how teacher-mommies do it. At this rate, I will never have time or feel settled enough to start a family. Hopefully I'll figure things out, or else I'm going to have to make some MAJOR sacrifices once I have kids of my own."  Among the racket of the "it is what it is" and "whoa is me" attitude in my head, I had a ringing moment of clarity this summer after making a career move. I realized that I was wasting my time. All the extra "hustle," the worrying & stressing, was getting me nowhere. It was time for me to start working smarter, not harder. 

Around the time of my 2nd Wedding Anniversary, I made a commitment to create a work & home balance this school year, for the sake of my own health {physical & mental} for my relationship with my husband, and for our future. That was late in the summer, just before the Back to School season, and here I am in October having to revisit & reaffirm this commitment, since it is a daily battle. I came across someone's words that really hit home with me:
Again I am reminded, that was ME too! But now, at the end of each day, I know that I gave my all to my students. I poured my heart & energy into every minute of the school day. I served them & loved them while they were in my classroom. I tidied up after they left, I answered emails, and I set up for the next day. I did all that I could, and that is enough. I am still working on changing for the better, for the sake of my future family & for the longevity of my career. I am respecting my body more, and especially respecting my time more. I work with my husband on planning meals, we limit our distractions on week nights, we keep our precious weekends to ourselves, we only commit to family events, we carve out time for chores & home improvement, we allow ourselves to truly REST. It's a daily journey, but I am grateful for it. I am blessed by supportive coworkers, encouragement from family, and inspirational friends. Thanks to all of these influences, I am able to trade in the "hustle" for a healthy home & work balance.

Cassie Dixon

Believer | Educator | Dreamer