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.