You would think that this post, being #100, is quite special. I hate to break it to you – but it isn’t. Not really.
It’s just me. Popping in. Saying hey. Updating my future self (who’s hopefully got her shit sorted out) about where life is and what’s going on at this point in time.
When I wrote this I was thousands of feet in the air, coming down from a well-deserved, end of year mini-break to Melbourne by myself. A couple of things making me happy. A couple of things not. Life in all its glory.
I’ve been meaning to write for a few weeks, but not really known what to say. My usual drive and motivation to share things has has been missing a little bit. I knew that I wanted to do some christmas related posts (as I have done for the past couple of years). I just didn’t want to do any old thing for post #100. And I didn’t know what else to write about. I was stumped – I could just not get past my writer’s block, and all I wanted to do was skip straight to post #101 and pretend that #100 never existed.
I wrote a couple of drafts (one a 900 odd word essay on how love makes the world go round, and one a very terrible and cringe-worthy Christmas Carol that will never see the light of day) but then decided that they weren’t quite right (and justifiably so).
Several times I’ve thought to myself “Yes! That’s what I want to write about.” and started a draft, only to return a few days later and not be able to relate to it at all. So…all that’s left is to get back to life and updates I guess.
The past few weeks have been hectic, to say the least. Report cards (which are a nightmare in themselves), job ‘stuff’ going on, not to mention getting caught up in the realities of being a late-twenty-something, quarter-life-crisis-having woman in a world caught half-way between progression and conservatism.
Anyway, despite the fluctuations in thoughts and moods and feelings over the last however long, there are a couple of things that have stood out to me. In the spirit of Christmas and self-reflection as the year comes to the end, I thought I might share some of them with you:
- I need to start trusting myself a bit more professionally. Apparently I do know some stuff about being a primary teacher! And other people think so too!
- I will find it very difficult to find work with a better group of friends than I have in the past 5 years.
- Life’s gonna keep on keepin’ on. No matter how hard you wish/hope/pray for an extra day, an extra hour, an extra minute. Just to get shit done. Just to have a moment to yourself. You’re not gonna get it. So suck it up and keep pushing forward.
- No matter how much personal progress I think I’ve made, I’ve always got a little bit more to go.
- Life is definitely not fair. You learn that as a child, and you keep learning that as an adult. And sometimes you forget, right up until the moment it bitch-slaps you in the face.
- Lastly, no matter how shit you’re feeling, how low, how down, how isolated you want to make yourself and withdraw from the world, you’ve got to keep on keepin’ on too.
I’ll elaborate a little bit on that last one. When I went back to school after my rough patch earlier in the year, it was so hard to care about the insignificant problems that my students brought to me every day. But I had to. I had to be strong and right their wrongs, had to kiss their wounds better and dry their tears and be their confidant and champion and safe place when their days were rough. And last week, I felt like I was paid back tenfold.
At the end of the year, it is common for students in primary to gift their teachers with a little something to say thank you for all you’ve done for the year, Merry Christmas, have a great new year and see you soon. This year I got the usual plethora of hand creams and chocolates, a couple of exciting tidbits (my christmas presents from here on out will all be sealed with a wax stamp) and one very touching gift.
I knew I was getting a Pandora charm from one of the girls in my class (ten year old girls are not the best at keeping secrets) but when I opened it and saw it wasn’t an apple, or an owl, or one of the dozen other teacher related charms, but a crown – that’s when I felt it had all been worth it. Going to work had been worth it. Words can’t describe how touched I was. I don’t know what it was about the crown per se, but it just caught my breath. To me, a crown brings to mind the symbolic representation of a person in charge, a leader, who not only has the respect of their followers, but does so with a poise and grace that only a queen or king can do. And the child thought of me and chose that charm and bought it for me. I know this all sounds like a whole lot of hogwash, but in that moment I felt stopped in my tracks at the thoughtfulness of such a gift.
Life isn’t easy. Being a teacher makes it even more difficult at times. I’ve worked in schools for the past 6 years in some capacity or another, and during that time I’ve been hit, shouted at, spat on, sneezed and coughed on, had things thrown at me, and been called names (by students and parents alike). I’ve been disrespected, loathed, and feared. I’ve felt like a failure, felt out of my depth, and on one occasion found some charming young men in my class had decided to fill my (opaque) drink bottle with erasers (I discovered when I took a mouthful and felt something hit my lips). On the other hand, I’ve received more hugs and smiles and “you’re the best teacher I’ve ever had”s than I can count. I’ve seen the sense of accomplishment a child gets when they FINALLY get that math algorithm you’ve been teaching them, or the shocked pleasure when they receive an academic achievement award that they completely deserved but didn’t expect. I love being a teacher, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I guess, this week I just want to update my life story by saying that yes, life can be shit, yes, things will be hard, and sometimes everything will come at you all at once. I’m not religious, I don’t believe that these things are sent to us to try us, but I do believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or at least more experienced the next time around.
Sometimes, something else will happen that will help you feel like things can be set right again. I’m saying goodbye to the stress and strain of November, and putting all my good juju into having a positive and productive Christmas Break.
Now, bring on post #101.