Fake it till you make it?

I haven’t posted in a while. Despite making a decision in a recent post to write a few times a week at the very least. But I decided that substance is much more important to me than keeping to any sort of schedule, and I really didn’t want to keep rehashing old issues.

This blog, from the beginning, has always been about finding myself again after the rather traumatic experience late last year of feeling like I’d lost myself, forgotten who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I wrote in an entry a while back about feeling like I’d done that – found myself again. I had braved the classroom again and found myself enjoying teaching again. And I was sure that was what I wanted, needed to be doing.

But now I’m not so sure. Surprise, surprise.

I want to take a quick trip back to before I lost weight. Back in high school and college, maybe even starting in middle school. I knew I was different, I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to be “normal.” So I would go on these kicks of healthy eating or riding my bike more or going for walks after dinner or whatever I thought might kick start the weight loss. But I never stuck with it. Why? The best way to sum it up, I think, is that I didn’t want to lose the weight. I wanted to want to lose weight. But I was not ready to make the huge lifestyle change it was going to take to actually be successful. Not at the time.

I’m starting to wonder if that’s where I am career-wise. What if I don’t want to teach? Do I just want to want to teach? Because it’s what I know, it’s what I’ve done, I’m good at it (given the right situation, administration, support, etc.), it lets me feel like I’m actually using my degree. Then again, maybe I’m scared. I hate to think that one bad, traumatic experience has turned me off to teaching. I did enjoy a lot of the planning, I enjoyed interacting with the students.

I wish I knew the answer. There are so many things I’m passionate about, and I just wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I enjoy teaching on the good days. The bad days send me back to the morning I had my breakdown; they have me terrified to move, on the verge of tears, sick to my stomach. How can I do that to myself? Because there will always be bad days, no matter where I teach. Wouldn’t it be worth it to find something that I’m passionate about, good at, and not scared of? I don’t want to have to fake my way through the bad days just to get to a handful of good days that remind me why I teach. It really is a thankless job, and being so critical of myself like I am, it’s hard for me to see the good in my days.

The Fiance made a good point the other night while we were discussing this over dinner. He said that while I’m great with my content as a teacher, and I love the relationships I build with the good students, I cannot relate to the students who don’t want to be there, to the students who act out. Because I was never that child. I was raised to be respectful, to value education, to follow rules and procedures to the letter at all times. So when I encounter a student who doesn’t do those things, I cannot wrap my brain around how to handle that situation, around why that child cannot just sit down and do what I’ve asked. And I’m not sure that’s something that can be learned because it is such a foreign concept to me. Which, in turn, makes classroom management a very difficult thing for me.

To be honest, I’m exploring my options right now. I’m still looking at teaching, but I’m being very picky. And if I don’t end up teaching, I don’t think I’ll be heartbroken. What will break my heart is to look back on my life and see that I stuck with something that made me miserable just because I wanted to use my degree or because I thought it was all I could do in life since it’s what I started with. People grow and change, right? Why shouldn’t your career grow and change with you? Why should you fake smiles and enjoyment in the hopes that one day a light bulb will go off and you really will love your job, or even just for that one day every couple of weeks that you go home smiling? There are people out there who are cut out for teaching, who can relate to the students in ways I will never be able to, who have experiences to share that will open a child’s eyes to a love of learning. But it’s okay if I’m not one of those people.

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