Not for the Sake Of

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

21 January 2013

I think if you get used to writing, whether or not you originally like it, and then all of a sudden you stop, you are bound to miss it. In college I felt forced to record my thoughts and musings, but now I find that if I do not force myself to write about what I feel and think about what I'm doing, it goes totally unrecorded and unheard. It is my first year of teaching and if you were to look at the files or resources I do have, you'd be wondering where the rest of the artifacts are. I only plan a few days in advance and am not following my long term plan to a T, so everything doesn't connect together. Often I feel a lot of emotions throughout the day but no record of it goes anywhere. I like doing what I do, I like the challenge of it. I like not knowing what the next day will bring but being there anyway. I like the smiles of the kids and the emotions they have as well. I don't think I'm anywhere close to being a transformational teacher but I do try. I can't imagine myself doing anything else, I'm addicted to being around them and to trying to help. And then I say that (in writing) and automatically feel exhausted at the prospect of all there is to do. So much is on our shoulders, so much is expected out of us. And how much support can really be offered, to aid us in the journey to rectify what should have been done a long time ago? It does feel like my path and it does feel like I belong. Like I said, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. But it is hard. Often I feel sinking doubt or even what I'd call anxious despair. If I don't get this right, I think, it really matters and if they go down it's my fault. I have faith but then the entire boat is rocked and everything is turned up on its head. You wonder who is with you for the long haul or whether you're in it totally alone. And the doubt and the anxiety begin to become your ruler, not your light or your faith.

I find myself afraid to love, because if you love too deeply and then you watch them fail, it's even worse than watching yourself fail. Even though I have a life separate from it all, they are who I work on behalf of. They are the reason why I do it. It's exhausting but it's necessary.

30 December 2012

I don't remember the time when I decided I would teach after college. I don't remember the logic behind it or why exactly I chose it, except it seemed to make sense in comparison to sitting at some desk, working for a cause, because how would that actually connect me with the cause and make me feel as if I was making some difference? If anything, that's what I remember most about the decision I made to teach, not wanting to sit at a desk and hope and wish but rather, see things change on the ground and have the chance to witness at least a couple kids' growth over the course of a year.
I've come a long way from that now and mired down in the self-pity and almost despair that comes from being a first-year teacher. Confused, arrogant and helpless at the same time I flounder trying to find ways to make my life easier and seeming to just waste more time. I wonder how my kids would do if they had a different, more experienced teacher. When I get evaluations that aren't good I question myself and my entire ability to perform in the teaching profession. I've never thought about leaving but I know at once that I need a firmer grip hold to grasp, knowing where I'm going next FROM where I've been. And I don't know if I know where I've been. I've been floundering, I've been wishing, I've been doing the same things in an attempt to achieve different results, and I'm afraid of trying new methods now because I know they might fail and they might now work. But if I don't have faith in them, how will my kids? I expect them to believe in something that I don't even believe in?

 My classroom has to be a place of dreams. It has to be, because I am a dreamer. However practical and pragmatic I've grown to be, I'm still a dreamer at heart and always will be. And it has to reflect that and encourage that in a practical way. It's all really a game of attachment, I think. I'm scared of saying, "I am this, I am a teacher," and then failing at that because what does that mean? Who really wants to let anybody down? The real reason I became a teacher was because of how I felt when I was in school. I didn't like it and I didn't feel like many people understood me. Yet when I was able to succeed, when I was able to love certain subjects or certain things, I started to fly and from then on out achieved success. I know I have to be more patient with myself in terms of giving it time to become better. I cannot become a master teacher overnight. I have to release the pressure. It's hard not to want to be better though. Understanding, what's at's deep man. It goes really deep.

23 December 2012

It has officially been one full semester of teaching. Crazy, right? It doesn't feel like it. Not at all. You could tell me that just a few weeks ago I moved here, started, and am still getting my bearings and I would believe you. But in fact it's been a full semester. I don't feel like I've had enough time to breathe let alone reflect in a productive, responsible way. It's been a semester of catching up, of wondering, of scratching together something from nothing, of worrying whether I'm doing it right, of failure and exhausting, of teaching and learning, of managing and planning and more exhaustion, of yelling, of sighing, of hoping and dreaming. I don't know if I've learned anything actually. Have I? It's been more of a race to the top. I don't know if I'll know when I get there. All I know is, it's been a scramble. Not neat, not tidy the way I want it. I'm okay with how things have been but I'm also just tired of everything. The break came at the right time. And now I have to prioritize and figure out how I'm going to get better. I wish I was better at this. I wish it came more naturally. I wish my kids respected me more and we got more done. But instead it feels like a constant struggle. I don't feel like I'm doing the best I can I feel like I'm just surviving at best. I feel like my money I've invested in rewards or such has gone to waste. And I feel like I don't know where I'm heading. But that's what this break is for. Getting my bearings. Figuring out where I'm going. Figuring out why I'm here. It's always okay to fail as long as you reflect and figure out why you did and figure out how to prevent it. I think the number one thing I've done wrong is not having a behavior management plan that is full and that works. Behavior is getting in the way of everything. It's getting in the way of learning, of teaching, of simply getting in a line to move on to the next class. I can't believe how much behavior has gotten in the WAY lol, if you have told me this would be the achievement problem in my classroom, I would not have believed you six months ago, but indeed, here it stands. Anyway. It's shaping up to be a great holiday season. And even though we only get a week off, I'm determined to make the most of the week and get as much rest as possible. So off to treating myself!

07 April 2012

beating heart baby

This has been a very interesting night. Since I've been working night shifts very frequently lately, I come home and don't want to socialize with anyone really but want to ensure that I still get to do the things I want to do during night time....cozy up with a blanket, hang with the animals, watching my favorite show, and maybe cook some food. So I stay up and do it. And usually I end up staying up even later than intended and hence here we are at 2:00 am with me still wide awake and typing.

I sent in my first professional resume today, to send out to schools. I think as a kid when you picture yourself at 23, 24, 25 you picture yourself so grown up with all your shit together. I think the trick, which you learn when you hit about 19, is that you never just immediately get that shit zapped into you. You constantly have to remind yourself to stay on task, stay focused, and it's near impossible to have things just come so freely and naturally to you--life is a constant struggle, in a lot of ways. Maybe "struggle" is a strong word, but the point is it never comes freely to you. It's about the tension and release, the planning and the letting go, the wondering and the nothingness, the everything and the in-between.

I'm with, or dating rather, a wonderful woman. We are taking it step by step, but I wake up happy. I'm in a job that I love, with friends around me. My family supports me and never strays from my side. I am truly blessed and I thank God for that. My adorable little cat, bless his heart, wakes up with me every morning and reminds me that he is devoted to me. I am so, so blessed. And they say that we don't thank God when we have enough, but blame him when we don't have much, so I want to take this opportunity to say a bunch of praise, even if it seems like a bit of overkill.

20 March 2012

I felt like blogging earlier and don't feel like it as much anymore, but am going to anyway. Today has been kind of a weird day. Called in to work, which was my rebellion of sorts, saying "you can't make me work!" They have scheduled me for work repeatedly and basically ignored my requests to dial down my hours to have more time for school. And it's really starting to stress me out, because i absolutely have to go to someone and have them switch it. I cannot continue down this road, and this is me saying enough is enough.

Anyway, other than that, things are going pretty well. My class reading I find extremely boring, which I think is partly the material and partly me missing discussion-based seminar classes to the extreme. I didn't realize how much that impacted how you engage with the reading, what sorts of things you think about and are led to think about. Though I like solo work, it's really the intellectual engagement with others that can drive you forward. Truly, with each day that goes on, I miss my college more.

It is a transition phase in life. I'm ready to leave college though. Thank goodness, since this is my fifth year. I'm ready to just live my life and work and not worry about assignments. Someday, there will be more higher education but for now I want to focus on living the life I have set out for me. And more enjoyment...

13 March 2012

I have waited for this moment for four to five days now. Uninterrupted silence, time to do as I please, and a chance...most of all, a chance to write. What do I want to write about....

I fear the world is becoming more and more specialized and we are losing our place in it. Like, people are thinking about what they want to do when they grow up, some are thinking of what they want to study in school, and it becomes further and further specialized. And I'm familiar with the theories of complex societies and societal development enough to know that it lends itself to this type of occupational specialization. But it still scares me. I remember my days in elementary school and I feel our world was so much more secure back then. Maybe it is just this endless cycle of me resisting parts of the grown up world, the politics, the realizations, the disenchantment....but I also do think our world has changed. Culture wars have reached a head and it seems so aggressive, so violent, even, at times. I want it to pass. I want it to calm down and for people to not be so aggressive. And most of all so hateful. It sounds kind of cliche and hippy-ish, but I'm okay with that. I want peace and love and understanding. Lol.

You can't do that without bridging worlds. To reach understanding, you have to meet somewhere in the middle which is why after all this time I support Obama. At the same time, there is a need for the passionate liberal activists who never say something is okay when it's not and always fight for what they believe is justice. It's just frustrating because it seems so hard to get things done and especially now, it feels like there is no focus on schools and people don't understand that that is one of the basic backbones of our society and without reform, nothing can change. People can't learn new things, people can't grow, people can't advance.

Anyway, speaking of which, I have to head to class now, but I'll write more later.

12 March 2012

what i like to do
is walk in the rain
but only when i'm dressed just right for it
don't want to get soaked in shoes that aren't meant for water
don't want to get soppy the tshirt we dress to impress
just want to run around in a slicker and rain boots
ready for what's to come

you say you worry that if they come near you
they'll see all the frayed wires and dirty parts exposed
i say i welcome it
because it is who we are
and it tells a story
and we are not worse off than anyone, ever

and i like to say baby come with me
and dance in the rain
and you like to wait
but then join
singing oh halle, halle, halle
hail down on me i welcome it
you are carrying everything i want to be with