Today, my first day back to work for what appears to be a full week, was a disaster! Anything that appeared to be able to go wrong basically went wrong in some way. (Okay, for those of you who don’t know me personally, I admit to some exaggeration. But for those of you who know about my day, you will realize that some of the things that occurred hit me really hard and… hence the exaggeration.)
One thing that bugs me the most is that coworkers still treat me as though I am a child, one of their students. I got it at first; this is my first year teaching and I still have a LOT to learn. But now that we’re almost done with this year, I think I have proven myself in enough ways to ensure that I am clearly defined as a teacher, not a student. And yet today, it happened again.
That might seem silly, but today was also the first day when a student told me, to my face, that I am an awful teacher. Sure, it was because they weren’t getting exactly what they wanted, but it still hurt to hear the words. I teach for a reason. I teach because I want to make a difference in children’s lives. I don’t do this job for the money or the pride; I do it because I care about them. So to hear this kid, even if it was just one kid, say that I ruined something for them and that I am the worst teacher they ever have… well, it’s a slap in the face! It was some weird, dramatic wake-up call that seems to be playing out in front of my eyes via a slow-motion camera. I cannot stop replaying the entire scene over and over again, not because I want to but because I cannot grasp the concept that I wasn’t dreaming. Someone actually told me that I am a horrible person. Maybe out of spite, but they thought it and said it anyway.
This was not all that was wrong with my day, but it was the biggest slap in the face that I have received in a long time. I guess I had perfected myself this little bubble of peace, where coworkers liked me, my students appreciated my time and effort, my family loved me, and I was motivated to finish college. Now that bubble is popped and I feel lost.
For those teachers out there, I would love to know how you stayed motivated. I’ve heard all of these stories about people burning out in their first year, but that doesn’t describe my situation at all. I’m not burn out; this situation almost makes me more determined than ever. But I also want to retract my trust and understanding of my kids to ensure that people have less to say about me for the positive or the negative. That way I figure I can fly under the radar and do my job without being emotionally attached or liable to an emotional attack!
I wonder what would happen if I open my Bible right now… It’s sitting right beside my bed and I could easily flick on my lamp to read a passage or two. But here’s the funny thing: as much as I rely on my belief in a higher power to keep up my faith and hope and get me through my days, I’m not sure if I opened that book I’d understand anything that I read out of it. I never have really understood the Bible, except for the simpler parts (such as the Christmas story, the way God made the Earth, the animals, etc., and the Easter story). All of the other bits inside of that text normally need to be explained to me by someone else.
Which may be the reason that I am not as religious as I could be. I simply don’t have the time or the motivation to sit down after a long day’s work and try to listen to someone explain this ridiculously complicated text. Sad, but true.
That also reminds me that, at Church on Sunday, my grandma almost got hit by a piece of the ceiling which was falling down under the weight of the snow. Thankfully I wasn’t there to witness the scene or I would have been a mess. Needless to say, how much faith can we put in God if even our place of worship is (quite literally) crumbling around our feet? And then I think, well at least she didn’t actually get hit. Maybe God couldn’t stop the ceiling from falling but he could stop anyone from being hurt…
I find it funny how I often see two sides to every story. Less so when I’m directly involved in the story of course, but I definitely have this idea of putting myself in someone else’s shoes. Even now, as I sit and think about these things, I see two aspects to every story. For my student- it is apparent that they are still an adolescent who has not learned the true meaning of a “good” person. To them it seems that a good person is one who bends the rules and does what they must to make the child’s life easier. May be a sad perspective, but it cannot be said in any way that kids have the best outlook on life…Then there’s the ceiling incident; God may have acted in a negative way or he may have acted in a small, yet positive way.
And the worst part about these situations is that I have no idea which “side” is “right”. Doesn’t it depend on who you are and what you observe? Doesn’t truth really become a relative concept, as time or space, based upon the location and motion of the observer?
Then I think back on the ways I have acted today and the things that I have said or done… I wonder how people perceive my actions; do I look as immature and crazy as my student (thus explaining why my coworkers treat me the way they do), or am I perceived as a mature and intelligent individual? I believe my friend sees me as mature and intelligent, as do my parents. Then again, since I asked my friend some crazy, ludicrous, completely random question this afternoon, I’d be surprised if they didn’t change their view of me in order to protect himself and save his life from the affects of my insanity.
I am getting tired now and starting to ramble. I guess the moral of this story is simply this: We all make mistakes and we all see things differently. Only by seeing things from another’s perspective or simply being able to recognize that there are different perspectives can we ever begin to truly know another person completely.
Maybe one day it will be possible for me to understand all of the workings of someone else’s mind. Maybe…