November 21, 2011

Taking stock

It’s been a year since I stepped off the train in the middle of nowhere to visit my school for the first time.  The two other associates and I walked down the deserted road and ended up at the fast food joint Hungry Jacks.  The principal came to pick us up, and I sat in his office reading over the contract thinking, “what am I doing?!” 

 

I suppose not much has changed since, because I often still think, “what am I doing?!” in my own classrooms.  It’s this self-criticism which has probably led to a billion times more stress than has be necessary.  It’s difficult not to take things personally when my humanities class is still so out of control this far into the school year. 

 

But if anything has changed, it’s my acknowledgement that I can’t do everything.  Of course that sounds silly on paper, but it’s a relief to internalise this and actually take a step back from immediately thinking, “T isn’t doing any work.  I should have differentiated the task more.  J is acting up, I didn’t follow through with calling his mother.  K is behind on his assignment.  Why didn’t I think to write a letter home earlier?”

 

I’m tired and need a break.  There have been many happy and fun moments in my classes, and I just need to get through this last little bit.

 

As I wrote in an email to a friend:

I've had a productive night of trying to juggle the ridiculous amount of responsibilities I keep agreeing to do (of course I need to put this in perspective.  In the grand scheme of things what I'm doing is tiny). 

 

Sometimes I think why do I make all this unnecessary stress for myself when life could be 100x more simple... So I'm thinking these holidays I'm going to go to the NSW coast for a week by myself and just read, do yoga and write.  I should just be happy being me and not continuously trying to be a "better person".  What am I trying to prove?

Is this just the general Type A personality?  My Teaching and Leadership Adviser  said, “Don’t think you’re so special Q!”  The principal said I was an improvement Nazi.  While both were joking, there’s definitely some truth in that.  I temper this default of being stressed with meditation, yoga, writing and introspection and feel really happy that even in the worst moments of my class, students have said, “Miss, why are you always so calm?  You’re always smiling.”

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