Sometimes teaching is hard…

So this post has been written and re-written so many times in my head throughout this week. What to write and what not to write. What’s important, what’s helpful and what’s not. How to be positive but realistic… And then everything changed. But I will start from the beginning so that the importance of this week for me does not get lost in the excitement of what’s to come.

This is an honest reflection of my week and how I felt during some of the hard times…

Monday

I was excited to start my day off with a double block of PE – starting a Monday off with workout clothes? Yes please! And then reality set in and I had to deal with an incident within the first 20 minutes of class that spiralled off into some even bigger issues. I missed my recess to deal with it, which I NEVER mind doing for important issues but it left me feeling unprepared mentally for the following two blocks. The last block of the day felt like a regular chatty, middle school afternoon x100000… But this could have just been my mood at the time. I had to rush out to an appointment at the end of the day and left without tying up some of the loose ends that needed tying. So not the best day but not the worst day.

Tuesday

I had to deal with some of the toughest things that I have EVER had to deal with teaching or in childcare. The details don’t matter too much, just know that this took a toll on me as a human being who cares so deeply about children and their wellbeing. This day involved a lot of heavy conversations and left me with the need to talk it out with anyone who would listen. I got through it, they got through it, and things were handled as well as could be. By this point in the week I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted!

Wednesday

When I woke up in the morning I didn’t want to go to work. I was tired, frustrated and stressed out. By the time I got to school I realized that I was counting down the days of my short contract. My heart and soul were not in teaching on Wednesday. My mind was elsewhere and I was not all there for my students. On Wednesday, I realized that my situation was getting to me – teaching was hard, really hard. I had a small breakdown that night – a lot of crying and a lot of talking. This job was hard – but I can do hard things. The situations I was in were emotional – but emotion is the essence of our lives. I decided that night that I could do better and be better.

Thursday

I started class off right with a discussion about some of the things that weren’t working and a rearrangement of desks (for the most part I put my students with people they want to sit with until they lose that privilege and once again this strategy worked for me). I made the room feel more like my space and I showed the students that I was truly there, in the moment, with them. We had a great day! Lessons went well and the relationships we had been forming together blossomed. I was so happy and wishing that I could stay with the class long term.

Friday

In case Thursday had just been a “one-off” I went into Friday prepared to be strong and confident despite anything that would happen. And then the wonderful happened – they were excellent! We did a science lab and completed it all in class, we had some honest discussions and bonding moments. Clean-up (one of the biggest challenges for this group) was done with time to spare at the end of the day! I got to spend the last 5 minutes of class chatting with some students about weekend plans and wish them all a good weekend at the end of class. I couldn’t wait for Monday because it had been such a great time with them!

And then I checked the missed call on my phone… A job offer! A full time, full year job!

Normally this would be the most exciting news you could receive but I had just built these amazing connections and got through to this group in a way that was so meaningful to me. So, naturally when accepting a job… not, I burst into tears… Wow! I was completely overrun with emotion about leaving the class that meant so much to me but also about my dreams literally coming true so quickly! Thanks to an amazing, supportive staff surrounding me I was able to transition to excitement relatively quickly. After a quick pack up of my classroom and day plans left for whoever was to follow in my shoes I took off home to celebrate.

When timing is everything…

I keep thinking back on this week and wondering how it might have played out differently if I had been offered the job on a different day…

Monday – I would have said “YES!” and run into a new classroom completely unprepared for the challenges that class would hold.

Tuesday – The stress of a new job on Tuesday would have made me terrified instead of excited.

Wednesday – I think I wouldn’t have wanted it (would have taken it anyways I’m sure)

Thursday – I would have been excited but very stressed about what was to come

Friday…

Being offered this job on Friday meant that I feel prepared and confident in my abilities as a teacher. I am excited for my own classroom and ready to put in the work necessary to make it a great year. Teaching is hard, it will always be hard, and that’s why I’m in this profession. Working hard is a part of me and getting through this week was a giant reminder to myself that I know what is true and necessary in my life. I used my amazing support system to get through some tough times and it worked, I can do that again. I feel strong and prepared and oh so excited!

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From Empowerment, Epilepsy and Elephants

I have been time and time again reminded of Brené Brown this week and her amazing work with gratitude, joy and vulnerability. My heart is filled with gratitude for the things that have gone so well and I know that I am lucky for being in this position. Please take a moment to be grateful for all that is in your life that brings you joy – let’s live with our whole hearts!

Meaghan