your ordinary life is a fairy tale
and that means it's the best kind of real.
Blogging is, in and of itself, a weird thing for me. I feel really silly, putting my personal comments on the world out there. I can't control who gets to read them -- find my blog, and you find me. That's just how it is. That means, too, that my family and friends might learn hear things I've been quiet about in person, things I've been facing alone, trying to bear up in the face of what feels really heavy and hard.
Not being asked back to teach at the school feels heavy and hard. It feels like a big old lump of iron, half-melted down, twisted. It feels like I've lost my way, like I should have known to turn back at the beginning. There are so many things I want to be doing, and somehow, it's not happening. It's not the right place for me, which makes the moments that things work feel even weirder.
But it also feels like I'm being given another chance to make it happen. What ever "it" is. The "it" that has been calling to me for years, just out of hearing. The one I hear on the edge of my sleep. I don't call it a dream...
There's that word. Dream. This is "stories from the dream." Storyteller's Dream. And yet. What is the dream? I am quick to say, "but I don't have any dreams. there is nothing I dream of doing." and that feels really true. I don't want to be something when I grow up. I don't have a dream house, a dream car, a dream lifestyle. A dream job.
For one thing, where do you stop? A dream child? A dream spouse? A dream hat? A dream bathroom cleaner?
People like to ask, "What did you like doing as a child?"
I liked wandering around outside, telling myself stories and pretending to be book characters. I liked playing with my dolls. I liked going to school and brownies and choir and tap dancing lessons. I liked reading. I liked writing stories and poems, and dressing up in costumes. I liked going to church, and visiting my grandparents. I liked watching tv. I liked going to movies and museums and zoos with my family. I liked shopping for perfect, lovely little things, just to have bought something in a fancy store -- a fancy piece of chocolate, or a sticker, or a pencil, or a book... None of those sound like jobs to me. They sound like being a child. I like doing a lot of those things, still. But they aren't jobs. They aren't a career.
Here is something I'm still trying to understand, and I wonder if it is even possible to do. From "Two Tramps in Mud Time," by Robert Frost:
But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
as my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
and work is play for mortal stakes,
is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future's sakes.
What does that even mean?
This is long and rambling, and I feel shy about putting it out there. This isn't a blog that's helping anyone with anything. I'm not even sure why it's here, or why I write, but maybe someone will feel less alone, someday, in seeing that I was here, and felt this, and wrote it.
Long story short, I am postponing the ecourse I was going to run. I know nothing about launching ecourses or products or services. I would love to do story/reading work with someone, soon. Soon, I'll have loads of time... And hopefully, I can find my way into offering blossom later in the year.
There will be a lot to let go of in the coming days, and weeks. As there always is, because that is part of living, and it sure beats the alternative.
sometimes, it's hard to stay quiet, and sometimes going public hurts. I have had two interviews and sample teaching lessons in the last two months, and I have been hired for neither position. For the second, I was applying to take a classroom at the school where I teach now. When I met with the assistant principal today to talk about my application, and she told me why I hadn't been hired, I was immediately full of tears. Because, on the one hand, she may not have been right about one or two things, but on the other hand, the observations she shared from the interview committee were so dead on.
People, it's all about being authentic, and about living out in the classroom what I espouse in the faculty meeting. And in the moment, under the eye of other teachers, feeling like I am in a classroom with students that aren't mine, I fail. Over and over again, I fail. I have been making the wrong people my role models, again, because (and I wish I could get this through my head) they are not me! I have to stop using other people's tools. They don't work for me. The minute I put up a box for children to earn "points," the minute I take down names, the minute I threaten to call someone's mom, I HAVE LOST. I've lost it. I lose my cool, my resolve, my nerve, and all my fine talk about being a relational teacher and seeking to connect first? Like unto dust in the wind, dude.
I'm trying to see it as a gift: the gift of being the co-teacher again. Of not being in charge of planning. Of not having to be on the front lines of parent communications. Of getting to just be me.
Have I been me in the classroom? No. I've been me in my small groups, mostly. I've been choosing books I know the children will love, having them practice with movement and art and games. Now to find the balance between teaching lessons I didn't write, and chucking it all out the window to dance and paint all day.
I have four more days with this class as their leader. Four more days to turn it around, to give them my best. To actually dare to try something, instead of grinding -- GRINDING -- through the day, feeling nothing but regret and exhaustion at the end. Four more days to try to figure out why it is that the two African-American girls in the class are the two I am having the hardest time reaching; I have so much to unpack, so much to examine.
And it's hard. And it hurts. Every day hurts. I'm trying to trust that I am learning, and that I am in the right place, and that they want me to continue in this role, because they see potential. The school sees that I have something they need, and I need to find a way to let that shine out more.
Nothing feels easy with this job. I need to roll it all back in, and really figure it out, because if I don't it will eat me alive.
Sometimes, I really hate learning. Learning is HARD. Growth is HARD. And what happens again and again, is that I see that the path forward, is really a path back. It's a path that reminds me to be what I am, teach how I teach, and trust the children.
I need that tattooed on my forehead. Or on a BIG poster paper in my classroom. (doing that tomorrow. yep.)
Sara is a storyteller, writer, artist, teacher, wife, mother, and singer living in Minnesota. I write about storytelling, and about living a life with stories.