I have had a really rough school year so far. It’s a combination of a difficult group of kids, several new programs/ curricula, and just feeling burnt out. I’ve prided myself on making it to my seventh year of teaching. According to research, half of all teachers quit within their first five years (credit to lots of unvalidated studies on the Internet, and the Internet never lies, right?) But this year, and a little bit last year, I’ve just felt lost. I’ve lost myself as a teacher.
With every new suggestion, curricula, and the latest technology, I kept changing everything. And I got farther and farther away from the teacher I used to be; the one with energy and limitless patience, the optimistic one, the teacher who loved her job.
My assistant principal asked me last week what I thought my classroom management style was. I literally told her that my management style this year is kind of just surviving and trying not to cry in front of my students. Only a little bit kidding.
But the more I thought about it, that question really shook me. I used to have a management style. I used to not have any student desks. I used to have stuffed animals in my room. I used to play my guitar every day. I used to do a lot of things. But along the way, I stopped. Either because someone told me to or I felt I should. And in that, I lost myself as a teacher. I don’t like who I have become. And my principal could see that every time she walked into my classroom.
Unfortunately, this blog post doesn’t have “Five Steps to Finding Yourself” and it doesn’t have an ending wrapped up with a ribbon. I’m still struggling with this. But now that I’m aware of it, I’m going to take steps to figure out how to fix it. I want to go back to how I used to do things before I changed them all because I thought I should. I want to enjoy going to work every day again because I haven’t been.
And it’s hard for me to say this most days, but I’m thankful for this year. This year is going to help me grow as an educator and as a person. It’s pushed me outside my comfort zone (where I explored a little but now I’m making my way back) to try new things, find some that work and many that didn’t. Life needs a little variety and a shove in a different direction once in a while. Can’t be getting bored, now can we? 😉
Huffington Post had some tips for finding yourself when feeling lost that I liked and thought I’d share.
I’m going off to do some reflecting on who I am as a teacher and who I am as a person. I urge you to do the same. It’s something everyone should do on a regular basis.
Some other things to remember:
Happy Soul Searching!