First off, Happy New Year! Karley and I have resolved to be more consistent with our blogging in this new year so hopefully you are ready to hear from us more regularly. For the past few years I have decided to choose a word instead of New Year’s Resolutions as I find it easier to have a word to focus on throughout the year and from there I build short term goals. This year my word is fulfillment. I intend to seek fulfillment in a variety of aspects of my life, both personally and professionally.
We often hear about how our blog portrays us with words like “exceptional” or “inspiring” and, although I’d love to think of these words as the truth, the real truth is that our blog is often just the highlights of our teaching. If everyone shared their highlights, you would see that we are one part of a huge group of educators who work hard, have successes and failures, and do their best for their students each day. We try to make a conscious effort to be vulnerable and share our failures alongside our triumphs, but as we are both positive people there always seems to be a focus on the good. (I realize this is mostly not a bad thing and also, it’s often difficult to share the negative due to confidentiality reasons). We want to make sure that our blog stays “real.” So today I have a post about the real stuff – the tough stuff!
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting, learning and growing professionally since the New Year started. This past week and a half has been difficult in many ways that I cannot share on here, but just know that it has been one of the most difficult teaching periods of my past four years. I have spent a lot of time second guessing myself on everything from the smallest of conversations to the core of my teaching beliefs. Each day has become a test to myself to put that smile on in the morning and make a connection with a student, to just breathe, and to practice patience, kindness, and empathy.
Why me? Why now?
These thoughts have been at the forefront of my mind. I care about my students deeply, I work very hard, I plan carefully, I volunteer, I help out – I try. I try SO hard. “Why me? Why now?” Last week I did a lot of venting and a lot of crying about the situations I was in. I was attempting to problem solve but I was feeling hurt and not thinking clearly. I ended the week feeling fed up and frustrated.
This week I have been on the search for the lesson, because I truly believe there is always a lesson in it. All this week I’ve been thinking of the lessons that I’ve been learning…
- It is important to communicate clearly
- I need to let things go
- I will always need the support of friends, family and colleagues in my life.
All of these lessons are important but all of them are also lessons I’ve learned at other times in my life…
What is different this time? What lesson am I learning now?
Today it hit me – This is a job, this is not my whole life. This is the lesson I think I was meant to learn. Teaching has always been so important to me and I’m not saying that it isn’t anymore. My students will always be “my kids.” I will still think about the best way to support student learning while I’m trying to fall asleep. I will spend my own time on professional development, my own money on my classroom, and I will never stop the endless “teacher talk” with friends during evenings and weekends.
But what I have learnt is that I can have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at school and I can come home and have a great evening. I can go have a killer workout. I can have a meaningful conversation with my partner. I can watch a movie that makes me laugh or cry or both. I can read a book for pleasure. I can meet a friend for coffee. I can plan my wedding.
This may seem obvious to some of you, in fact I hope it does! But for me, it used to be that a bad day at school meant coming home, re-hashing every detail, playing out every possible scenario for the next day. A bad lesson would mean spending hours researching new ways to teach a concept or to re-vamp my whole unit plan.
I chose a job that I love. I chose a career that I care about. I find my work meaningful.
But at the end of the day, it’s still a job and there’s more to life than that.