oh, my, really?
well, it’s been a daunting january around the smorgasbundle abode. upon hearing the news (2 days before the first day at school) that i would be taking a block class of juniors for the entire semester, i promptly did what any other student-teacher-jumping-at-the-chance would do.
now, i’ve become a slightly more anxious person in recent years from time to time, as certain looming deadlines creeped closer, but nothing in any of the last decade of my life compared to the first weeks of school for me.
i literally felt like i was drowning, while being awake.
i can’t exactly put my finger on the particulars of this perfect storm that tugged my boat under, but it just seemed like everything descended all at once in my head.
[i will interrupt this story to say that as i sit here typing, the french boyfriend keeps wandering in, playing with a yoyo while distractedly walking and talking to someone on the phone. this image never ceases to make me smile. he LOVES to yoyo.]
where was i? oh yes, i was drowning in a sea of my own misery. YES.
so, nobody i work with (and definitely not the students) really knew what was going on, because i at least have some modicum of composure and life experience to PULL MY FREAKING ACT TOGETHER, LADY! and not totally torpedo the class. but standing in front of a class of students at 7:45am and trying to motivate them to work for nearly TWO HOURS first thing in the morning and planning an entire semester of curriculum, all the while knowing how boring you are being despite your best efforts?
i think i have an idea of how stand-up comics working the circuit feel.
i was praying the school would institute a two-drink minimum requirement for my classes.
these are not bad kids. quiet. stubbornly disengaged and sleepy. determined to do as little hard thinking as possible. feeling the weight of the hopelessness they’ve been subscribing to for years. did i mention quiet?
it took a week for one of the kids to finally say good morning back to me when i addressed the class.
these relationships, they take time. which is difficult for a people-pleaser-want-everyone-to-like-me-instantly person like myself. and this, ultimately, is why i found this time so trying, so baptismal (by fire). because teaching is (and i contend that it always will be) a personality-driven profession. you have to be genuinely you, each day, and set the temperature of the room. as it turns out, i’ve always been the kind of person who adapts, figures out the tenor of a room and adapts to work within it.
so now i have to do the opposite, despite a lot of momentum pulling these kids the other way (when they’re together in a class). alone? they are often different. if i could just be paid to tutor kids one-on-one, i’d jump at the chance. that’s how much i like that part of my job. the rest is by far the most challenging thing i’ve done.
but, we’ve rounded nearly the third week of school and are marching towards february and, well, march as the days move along, i continue to learn a steep amount. Colin Powell said “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” pretty simple. these are the types of things we like to put up in classrooms. the reality of living that every day takes absolutely all my energy and much energy from the lovely people around me who continue to support me. i can’t say that i feel happy each day, but i can say that i’m exactly where i need to be, and that’s the most i can ask for. and that, THAT, makes me happy.
and now that i’ve come up for air, i decided to wave my flag and bring you over for a chat. let’s not make it so long next time.