Sunday, June 3, 2012

straws on a camel

Why am I so upset?  I feel lost.
 Do I feel targeted or attacked?  I don’t know, because I attack myself so often and thoroughly that telling the difference between an outward and an inward attack has become nearly impossible. 
Here is what I know:
  •  Getting pulled out of the classroom was heartbreaking and terrible for me.  I felt like I was being punished for choosing to support my husband as he fought a life threatening disease.
  •  Being told I would get to say “good-bye” to my class helped ease the hurt a little
  •  When I was called in to “turn in my badge and keys and collect my personal belongings”, it felt like being punched in the gut, slapped in the face, knocked on my back.  Not only was I NOT allowed to say good-bye, but it felt, once again like being punished for wrong-doing
  •  My one teammate's response to a request for a recommendation also felt like an indictment, a semi-formal accusation that I was in error, irresponsible, and consequently, a bad teacher.  Maybe even a bad person.
  •  The refusal of my other teammates to write recommendations even couched in loving statements, also left me feeling abandoned, betrayed, and alone.  That added to my sense of having done something wrong and of being a bad teacher/person.
·         The rejections of all three places I interviewed for, after feeling like I did quite well for at least 2 of the 3, reinforces my feelings of inadequacy in the teaching realm. Unfortunately, the view I have of myself is tied tightly to my view of myself as a teacher. 

There are things I believe about my abilities and drive as a teacher:
  •  I care about kids and they can tell that
  •  I am excellent at building relationships with my students
  •  I feel as if my job as a teacher is to find a way to get each student to believe in themselves, to (re)discover curiosity, and to learn to embrace mistakes as a roadmap rather than an accusation of inability
  •  I constantly work on ways to be more organized
  •  I enjoy using humor in the classroom
  •  Encouraging the growth of good character is key
  •  I dislike having to teach every single skill on the curriculum, focusing on quantity rather than quality
  •  I prefer to have the freedom to integrate all the subjects and look for or create lessons that allow for choice and address different learning styles
  •  I want to find a way to encourage the kids to strive for excellence without red penning everything.
  •  I want to honor and respect everyone’s family situation, while not changing the rules and expectations for the students
  •  I want to give my students a place where they feel safe, loved, inspired, and supported
  •  I DO NOT believe in “bad kids”- bad choices, most definitely, but each day we have the chance to make hundreds of new choices.  One of my many jobs as an educator is to help my students learn from their bad choices, and guide them to better ones
Yet I feel like I am not good enough.  I feel like everyone that interviewed me judges me and finds me lacking.  I feel like there must be a problem inside me.  I feel like I am flawed.  People tell me to treat myself as I would treat one of my struggling students, talk to myself as I would talk to one of the women at the Domestic Abuse shelter I used to volunteer for.  When I think about myself, it is so easy to see things in black and white:  I am either right or wrong, good or bad.  And since life is imperfect and complicated, and things rarely work out as you hope or plan, I place the blame on my own shoulders.
But now, I have the added burden, on top of all this, thinking that I need to be sure to find a way to find my strength, because if something should ever happen to John, I am all my children have.