Reflections on teaching, 2018

Thank goodness it is winter break!

These past few weeks have been really eventful for me. I found Thanksgiving break to be breather, and when I went back to school I was totally dreading it. The month between Thanskgiving break and winter break I felt like I was in a fog. I wasn’t feeling well and despite not feeling stressed about school anymore, I also wasn’t motivated. I felt fine going to work every day but super exhausted coming back. Then I had this huge pain on my side so I finally went to the doctor and found out that I had pneumonia 😭😷. I felt like I was in a fog and out of commission the last week before winter break.

It’s been 2 weeks since then and I’m grateful I’ve had time to pause and reflect. I have been feeling iffy about teaching basically ever since 2016 when I started teaching, and at least once a year I get super sick and want to quit. I realized this is just not sustainable. There is no way I can keep teaching if I am feeling this way every year. I’ve tried to communcate with my parents why I feel this way and it’s been hard getting them to understand. I’m not quitting because it is hard or I’m losing interest, it’s that teaching seems to be hurting me more than it’s helping me. My mom finally understood a little when she was in the hospital with me and I’m glad.

Some reflections:

  • -I got worse at talking to children since I became a teacher. I used to find it fun to play with and talk to kids but now I don’t even feel good around some 5-year-olds 😞.
  • -I enjoy talking to adults and for the most part, I can chat with anyone. I love giving presentations and professional tasks.
  • -I do not enjoy Dual Immersion or foreign language teaching. I much prefer having one group of kids the whole day, same kids all year. I want to teach core subjects (math & English) and traditional multiple subjects.
  • -I really enjoy tutoring and art. I do not enjoy disciplining or managing, so I question whether public school or classroom teaching is for me. I can be a disciplinarian but it is going to be much harder for me than it is for other teachers.
  • -I don’t have a personality or presence where kids automatically want to please me or are scared of me, so I think management is always going to be a struggle for me. In addition, I simply don’t click with naughty kids. I can’t relate to them at all and maybe that’s where I need to be more compassionate.
  • -Teaching hasn’t been good for my health because I’m trying so hard to talk every day. I feel ignored/not heard/not seen, and my work is not appreciated. In other words, it doesn’t feel worth it because it is one-sided. And since I base my performance on how engaged students are, it’s only felt like a huge amount of work that’s wasted.
  • In order to keep teaching I need to be healthy in body and in soul. I need to have more compassion for myself and my students. Even though I can’t change kids or coworkers, I can change myself. I need to start with enjoying what I do, and let go of whether it’s effective or not, or whether kids are learning. Only when I begin to like what I do, do kids have a chance of liking what they do in my classroom. It’s ok if no one gets it or a thing completely falls flat. If I had fun doing it or I’m excited, it was at least worth it for a little bit. Because of that, I will start trying things I am excited about and letting go of how effective it was.