Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

Anyone watching the show Severance on Apple TV+? How would I describe it? Fascinating, weird, unsettling, quirky, compelling, thought-provoking…

Here’s the description from the show page:
Mark leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs.

What drew me to this show, aside from the incredible cast, was the idea of “severance”, a complete separation of your work and personal life. As an educator, I think we have the blurriest lines of all between the two. How can you stop worrying about these humans you see each day at work once you leave the building? You can’t! I remember trying to explain to a non-teacher friend that teachers never stop working or at least thinking about work. At the store? Oooh, I could use that in the classroom. Saturday morning cartoons? Nope, there’s a webinar on EST that I need to catch. Summer vacation? Ha! I need to snap a photo of something that’s related to a unit I’ll be teaching next year. Also, let’s not even talk about the planning and prep that happens on vacation.

So, what would that be like if we could make a definitive boundary between our two lives? I don’t think it could work because teaching is all about relationships and what kind of relationships would you have with your students if there was a whole part of your life that was inaccessible. Could you build relationships just based on your school life?

Setting aside the ethical issues and other consequences of this separation, what do you think?

  1. I definitely do not balance school and home separately. Like you said – every waking hour of vacation, shopping and thinking connects back to my classroom in some way. When I’ve apologized to my family, they don’t mind. (Do I believe them?). I guess I’ve accepted that being a teacher consumes you, in more positive ways than not. (hopefully)

  2. arjeha says:

    I don’t a teacher could ever separate teaching life from not-teaching life. As you say, we are always looking at how things can be used as a teaching tool. Our minds are always on the unit we are teaching or the one that is coming up or the one that we are thinking about incorporating into our classes next year or the one…

  3. pfornale says:

    The perennial question—and it applies to many professions, but strongly to ours. I feel I have struck the proper balance. I align my thoughts and habits in my personal life with the compassion I need to maintain in my professional life. I prioritize well the most important work I must do at school, and I remain at school late, rather than bring work home. Three decades of experience has enabled me to arrive at this balance; being childless has given me an unfair advantage, perhaps. Still, I emphasize sustaining work over consuming work. This is another advantage, and it serves all concerned. We should be trained in this, but as things are, we each have to find our own way. Thanks for this post!

  4. I think kids bring their whole selves to school and so do we! That certainly has pros and cons both in terms of balance and possible biases that we bring to work (intentionally or not). A lot to think about …

  5. Noora108 says:

    Thank you for this amazing post. I’m the first to admit that I do not separate the two. I just can’t. My students and my family are so intertwined in so many ways. However, sometimes I wonder if that is why I keep going. Because of the connection I have with my families, it is what motivates me to keep going. But maybe that is why we don’t see the the damage. It’s like an abusive relationship. Being in a couple and knowing the end result….it’s like one thing good happens and we forget the bad and the line is blurred again.

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