Thursday, July 26, 2012
Stop This Train
This week was the first one back to work. In addition to sitting in various meetings of varying degrees of importance and informativeness, I've trying to squeeze in the setting up my classroom in time for the new students' arrival on Monday. Perhaps it's because I'm no longer new to this and I haven't had a summer (and I'm typing this while listening to John Mayer, specifically the song, "Stop This Train"), I'm feeling rather...doubtful about this year.
Note that this feeling has nothing to do with the school, the new kids I haven't met yet, or new colleagues. It's all me-centered (that sentence sucks). I'm in a weird place - for the first time in six years, I'm no longer a "student". I graduated from grad school. I did it. Now what's next in my journey? On top of that, I've made great personal strides this summer in terms of taking care of myself physically (i.e. I'm getting in shape and eating better) that I'm fearful of losing. Again, not one damned thing I just mention has anything (directly) to do with teaching. Yet, this weird out-of-school zone/fear of personal regression somehow feels tied to it.
I think that the connection lies in the fact that teaching last year encompassed so much of time and life. My interests were put aside, my health was a peripheral concern, and my time was given to teaching first and foremost. When I did the new teacher orientation, I made sure to mention that our students deserve teachers on their 'A' game, and those teachers are usually the ones who are well-rested, good at coping with stress, and in general, taking good care of themselves. Granted, I said this to them not as someone who actually did this, but as someone who did the opposite and paid for it. I suppose the overarching questions of this school year will be: How can I balance what's best for the students with taking care of myself physically and mentally? What are my next professional moves that maximize benefits for future students/schools that I work for and for myself?
To wrap this waxing poetic and tie back to John Mayer, "Stop This Train" was John's musing being in the weird transitional place when getting older, which is apropos. I think this is where I am. I recently "celebrated" a birthday, I'm finally taking a break from school, and I'm starting to make personal strides. I was in familiar space, and now, I'm getting further away from it, which only begets uncertainty and doubt. I remember feeling this way once before - the summer after I graduated from high school. I didn't do so bad after that train ride, did I?