Talking myself down…

There’s this quirky thing about me. I try not to get to close to precipices, ledges, cliffs, etc. because of my fear that I might just jump off. I don’t have a death wish, but there is this thing in me that knows nothing is holding me back, so to speak. This quirk extends to other scenarios, but I don’t avoid those situations. For example, when I am in a meeting, I might imagine myself making a spectacle of some kind. I never do, of course. Weird. That’s me.

Now I am on a precipice of a different sort. The precipice is my new teaching career and I want to jump off. I continue in this loop like a skipping record:

this is so hard, I can do it, focus on the kids, just teach, do what you can do, don’t try to do everything, I am in the zone, I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this,this is so hard, I can do it, focus on the kids, just teach, do what you can do, don’t try to do everything, I am in the zone, I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this,this is so hard, I can do it, focus on the kids, just teach, do what you can do, don’t try to do everything, I am in the zone, I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this,this is so hard, I can do it, focus on the kids, just teach, do what you can do, don’t try to do everything, I am in the zone, I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this,this is so hard, I can do it, focus on the kids, just teach, do what you can do, don’t try to do everything, I am in the zone, I can’t do this, I don’t want to do this…

Shake it up, stir, and repeat…

This morning I was talking to a friend before school and I confessed that I was tired of being the one who always chose the hard road…the job no one else wanted… When I tell people, I am a teacher, most of them say, “I don’t see how you do it.” This  sometimes comes from auxiliary staff at the school. Over time my responses have varied, “Teaching is hard, but I love it” or “It takes a special person,”  or “Most folks couldn’t do this,” or “It is hard and they keep piling stuff on us.”  “It is hard.” Many times I smile and think, “not for long.”

My desire to leap/leave teaching comes out of a deep anxiety that I will never do all that the job requires. Imagine those sticky note holders that produce a new sticky note every time you pull one out. Your job is to pull out all the sticky notes, but you have to make a quota of a certain amount per minute using one hand.  Every hour 10 new dispensers appear. This is my job. Maybe I am filling the dispensers instead of emptying them.Okay this is a bad metaphor.

I dread the job each day until I get there and have to perform. When I am in the teaching moment, I am happy and content. I dislike the lack of the time and resources to do what the job requires. Before the bell…dread…after the bell… dread.. It is crazy.

One of my supreme jobs is motivating the kids to take responsibility for their own education. For the most part, I feel like I am making some headway. There are some students with gaps in knowledge and helping them can be daunting especially due to the RTI process.

So hear I am slogging it out, alone, on my own personal precipice. Don’t get me started on the lack of a team amongst my teacher colleagues. They might have a team, but I am in a silo.

Today I did have an interesting experience. I can’t discern if it was authentic or not. I was working with a challenging student whose home life is very tragic. She is one of 9 children in a single parent family that has been very transient. She has some behavioral issues and gaps in her learning. Despite this, the student has some raw writing talent. I had purchased a journal for her, but hadn’t given it to her yet. I was working with her today and had a premonition of sorts. I felt like she was going to be okay and achieve success one day despite her obstacles. I stopped my one on one lesson with her and gave her the journal. I basically told her that she was destined for greatness and that she needed to write in her journal every day. My student’s face lit up and she kept the journal with her for the rest of the day. I felt compelled to do this.

This is outposts from my second year of teaching. I am still crawling…crawling back from the precipice. I can’t quit because things are hard. I have to continue to work outside my comfort zone. Perhaps more magic will happen now and again.

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