I guess at this point we’re already six weeks into the new school year, and it feels so great to enjoy my job every day again. Job change was definitely something I needed for myself two years ago, and even though I knew I wouldn’t find a new fit right away with the temporary assignment I took last year I was more than willing to test out the waters and be patient.
Some of how it worked out was calculated planning on my part and some was just plain luck, and I am definitely happy with how it all worked out. Getting your confidence back from something you’ve lost I’ve found is a process at times, but I definitely feel more confident and definitely less defeated as teacher than I did a couple of years ago.
There have been points where I’ve headed into work with that awful feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach because I know I either have to deal with some kid or class of kids that are going to fight me every step of the period on everything and treat me like scum on the bottom of their shoe. Or I’ve felt that sense of dread, anticipating being criticized for the behavior of a kid or group of kids that I’ve tried to reach but are obviously bent on a path of destruction yet somehow it’s my responsibility to make them behave and care about their education. I spent nine years with the majority of my day working with the lowest level and typically most challenging behavior kids in the gen ed population(and the most frustrating thing was how much they took away from the education of the great students that were in there), and now for the first full year in a decade I was going to be working with higher level, typically well behaved kids with goals and ambitions that for the most part see education as a path to reaching those goals.
I reached a point where the job just beat me down, and between the stress of home at that time and the job I still wonder which one influenced which the most. I knew I wasn’t happy, and I knew I needed change. Two years later I can say I have it. I look forward to seeing my classes, excited about what’s planned for the day, and I leave work again feeling satisfied most days with how the day went. I feel like I did my first couple years of teaching again. It’s not that I don’t have a kid, class, or situation that annoys me ever; I do because that’s just life and work.
Again, depending on how one looks at it. Some could view my desire to move on from working with the most challenging classes as a negative reflection of me personally or as a teacher, or some could see it as smart to recognize when I had reached my limits and to do something about it for the benefit of myself and others. I refused to become an unhappy teacher, mad at the profession and adolescences for the remaining twenty years of my career.
I have always believed we spend way too much time at our jobs, away from our families, to not feel at least a sense of happiness and contentment for our time spent at work. Work should not be a place to dread to go to or something that fills us with anxiety and stress daily after the work day is over. I for one think spending my work days happy is a huge component in our overall happiness, and I'm glad I have that for myself again.
On the Sidelines