Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hope and the Difficult Journey

Last year, I was always writing depressed posts on Sunday nights because it was really hard for me to think about dealing with the stressful situation I was in for another work week. I am happy to report that I don't feel that way now. I actually am excited to go to work on Mondays. Well, I am a little excited; I do still work from about 6:30am until at least 7:00pm on Mondays due to my graduate class. It's tiring, but I feel good about what I am doing now. I thought this Sunday, I would post some advice for anyone who is having one of those difficult years right now. Who knows if anyone actually even reads this, but if perhaps you do and you are having one of those hard years I want to send a little hope your way. I know when I was having a really hard time I needed every bit of hope people could send.

If things are hard and you feel really frustrated with your situation or your class, don't beat yourself up about it. Sometimes things are hard and it's natural to feel frustrated. The trick is to never give up. You're probably not a saint or a god and you will make mistakes and you might not wake up every morning and think, "I can't wait to see the dear children." It doesn't mean your a bad person. Really, I was beginning to wonder if I even liked working with kids, but after getting out of the stressful situation I realize that the kids were not really what was stressing me out.

Stay around positive people. The thing that really kept me from quitting was the people who looked for the positive in education and in others. It is tempting to find complainers and go on and on about your woes, but it certainly doesn't cure them. Sometimes, last year, I just had to listen to people who had nice things to say because I really didn't feel that way myself. I am glad I put their words in my head because they made me question my beliefs that maybe all this isn't for me.

Put negative words behind you. I am not saying that you should ignore all criticism. I do believe that all criticism has some truth and we can and should learn from it. Sometimes, though, people say really hurtful things. Unfortunately, the world of education is often a very mean spirited place. It is political and there are people who will step on who they need to in order to climb the ladder. Sometimes, you have to learn from people like that how you can improve and then forget that you ever knew them. I am still working on this one myself. Even if I just learn from the person who really hurt my teaching spirit that someday twenty years down the road if I should happen to be overseeing people who are learning this profession that I should invest a little kindness, it will be a good lesson.

Well, I am about done writing for tonight, but I do have one more celebration. This blog has really been a chronicle of my teaching journey as a young and inexperienced teacher. I started it as an outlet when I was having a hard time. If you read all my posts about administration they are not positive because I did not have a positive relationship with my former administrator. Unfortunately, administration was my most frequent post topic. I also had a huge category of posts labeled discouragement because that is where I was at. Yesterday, I had more idea posts than administration posts for the first time and tonight is my first encouragement post. That shows something about where I've come from and where I'm at now. If you're not feeling joyful yet, don't quit. Journeys aren't worth much if you quit. I think I always knew that my journey hadn't ended yet--even when I really wanted to quit. I am glad that I am still on this crazy journey. I hope this really is encouraging!

7 comments:

Joel said...

What an inspiring message of transformation! Glad you shared it with me. :)

Kary said...

I understand when work becomes very difficult and you hate your Monday's. Right now I am having that journey, not because of my kids, they are great, but because I do not like the subjects I am teaching. I asked and pleading not to teach them, but the administration says I am, so here I am hating my job with a passion.

Debor said...

This is a wonderful post and one my daughter, in her third year of teaching, definitely needs to read. She is having a miserable year, quite like your last year with a new principal. Thank you for your wise words!

mollymaureen said...

Sometimes we need the miserable moments I think to recognize when we have it good. it's hard to remember sometimes that we have the coolest and most important job in the world....we teach. We get to hang out with kids all day, every day and kids are great little people. Keep on keepin' on, and thanks for the encouragement....and yes, people read your blog. LOL.

stengel99 said...

Good stuff. I particularly agree with your decision to hang around with positive people and avoid negative ones. I am a traveling music teacher, and found that at one of the schools where I taught I had to stop eating lunch in the teacher lounge because it was just way too negative too consistently. I always left the room feeling uninspired, and the truth was that the students there were not different from my other schools, but there was just a defeatist attitude from the top down. "Hope" is a great word. Good for you.

Material Teacher said...

Wow! I really needed this right now. I'm not the giving up kind but teaching hasn't seemed to be getting any easier. I now have hope that it might one day now and I, like you, have just started a blog as an outlet for my anxieties and the hope that I'm not alone in how I feel.

Material Teacher said...

Wow! I really needed this right now. I'm not the giving up kind but teaching hasn't seemed to be getting any easier. I now have hope that it might one day now and I, like you, have just started a blog as an outlet for my anxieties and the hope that I'm not alone in how I feel.