I made it through graduate school, received my MAE and diploma as proof, and got a job in my field of study. I am now, officially, a teacher of the arts at a high school full of teenagers. Chock full of teenagers. You, dear imaginary reader, wouldn’t believe how full. It’s overwhelming to be surrounded by them all day. I’ve cycled through bouts of anxiety, depression, fear, and self doubt while enjoying the professionalism of my colleagues and the support of the community. I feel completely – nearly – unprepared but okay. *Remembers to breathe.*
My friends and family ask me how it’s is going and if I like it, but I can’t answer well, yet, or yes. It is terribly, terribly hard. My first unit has as many holes as a colander, but I can learn. I’m managing a classroom of thirty-some students with unique backgrounds and histories at different times of the day and trying to figure out how to keep them on task and interested. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about how to have done better yesterday and anticipating tomorrow and next week. Truly, I feel to be a dinghy in the middle of an ocean. At least, though, I am afloat. When they ask me these questions, I’m exhasted, had a very challenging student or class, saw the flaws in my unit, or just, overall, had a bad day. It’s very difficult for me to say that it’s terrific or great. Ask me next year for the ocean tosses me about. It makes me grumpy.
I wrote that at the beginning of the school year last year, 2014. Admittedly, it wasn’t so much a dinghy that kept me afloat but a piece of driftwood. I nearly drowned. This year has provided me a small sailboat with oars for when the wind dies down. The paragraph that followed the above described some untruths including going running, practicing yoga, cooking evening meals, and the space for a personal life. In truth, that was not true. I had not the time nor energy for any of that.
This year surprises me. I have painted and am painting, cooked loaves of bread, run 4-5 times a week, cry, have stress related health issues, laugh, love, despair, found my sense of humor, am teaching art, bound beautiful books, have seen others learn, have learned, too. I am keeping afloat in my little sailboat.