I missed writing for the blog on Saturday – sorry about that. To tell the truth, I am rather ironically experiencing some of the work-induced, invasive, and destructive feelings that inspired the podcast in the first place.
I’m a high school teacher and, contrary to popular belief, we don’t just work from 9 until 3.30 and then go home. According to research done by the NASUWT, the largest teaching Union in the UK, the average teacher works around 55 hours per week.
I can remember times when, especially in my first year as a teacher, I was working nearer 80 hours. Judging from what my friends tell me, I reckon that there are very few working adults out there who don’t know what doing too many hours feels like.
How does this impact the hobby? The story is simple: we find ourselves very active throughout the working day and, by the time we get home, we’re shattered – tired and worn-out. Be honest: how creative do you feel at the end of a busy working day?
Roleplaying games are a creative endeavour. They are also a social hobby. For me, running a game as the Game Master is very demanding of my mental energies. That is further compounded by my naturally introverted nature – the need I have to recharge my batteries on my own. But even if you are a rabid extrovert, you’ll probably admit that your energy levels are going to dip right after work.
The reality of 21st Century life, at least in Western Europe, is that we work far too many hours and far too hard. We end up crashing at the end of the working day. Our days off are spent recovering.
That is my situation, right now. It’s the very situation I spoke about in the very first episode of my podcast. It seems the problem doesn’t go away.
But I need to call myself out on this one: I chose this career, this vocation. This is the price of admission to the classroom, where amazing communities of discovery are forged. But it’s also necessary for me to place boundaries around my work. I can’t let it rob me of roleplaying.
Certainly, I need to face the facts: I can’t play three nights a week. Nor can I play on a school night. But I can play. I did play, just this last Saturday evening… and it was glorious! And it’s those glorious moments of play that I live for.