December 9 2012

I can see it …

Can you see it? The end, I mean. The end of what has been, for me, one of the most difficult terms of my teaching career. For many reasons, I’m struggling right now. Some personal, some professional, but really all of these reasons are impacting the way I feel about my job.

I love teaching. LOVE it. It is really what defines me, more than almost anything else in my life. And I always said that when I stopped loving it, it would probably be time to think about doing something else. For most of this term, though, I’ve been feeling sick about going to work. I’ve spent more time on the verge of tears (if not actually IN tears) than I have feeling positive and happy about what I’m doing. So, is it time to move on? Is it time to pull the plug, and say enough is enough?

I’ve asked myself that question more than a few times – and my husband has raised it too! It has kept me up at nights, and I think the thought of pulling the plug has made me feel even more nauseous. So I’ve been reevaluating my roles. My role as teacher at my school. My other roles – year advisor, school promotions officer, technology team member, 2IC of my faculty, and others that are not so easy to define but still take up a significant amount of time. My role as a role model, and a colleague, and a friend, and a wife and mother. And I’ve been a bit blown away.

Sometimes you are so much in the middle of something, that you can’t really see the significance of it. There are so many metaphors about that – can’t see the forest for the trees, etc etc – and they sound cliched for a reason. I’ve been trying to stand back from this and taken in the bigger picture, to try and learn something from what I’m going through right now, rather than just trying to ride it out. And I think I’m starting to get my head around it.


So much of what has been stressing me has been out of my control. Actions of other people, mostly … Their thoughts and opinions about me, and about what I do. Their judgements about my roles. Their perception that I’m not good enough, skilled enough, worthy enough. If I was one of my students, I’d offer them some wonderful advice right now. I’d tell them that if these negatives were coming from someone they admire and respect, it might be worth listening to, but if they aren’t, then they’re not. I’d tell them that people who try and bring other people down are often doing so because they feel badly about themselves, and they are trying to attack what is bright, and beautiful, and successful around them. I’d tell them that they are amazing, and they are so much more than their fears and uncertainties. I’d tell them that these challenges are what test you so that you can figure out what is really important. I’d tell them all this and more. So why can’t I tell it to myself?

Luckily, it doesn’t matter that I wasn’t able to tell myself all those things. After holding my hand, and lending me a thoughtful ear, or comforting shoulder, I’ve heard all these wonderful pieces of advice and more from the wonderful people around me. I’m starting to listen to them … After all, they are the people I respect, both personally and professionally, and their opinions matter to me. My principal. My head teacher. My wonderful colleagues and friends from my own faculty, as well as others. My husband, and my very wise kids. These people rock – the best PLN a girl could ask for!

So what does all that mean for me? I love teaching. Have I mentioned that already? If so, it’s worth mentioning again. And I love what I’m involved in at my school at the moment. There are so many things that I’m working on, both in my classroom and out of it, and I believe passionately in the value and importance every one of them. I think it’s really time, though, that I started evaluating what I can realistically do myself, and get my head around the whole “it’s ok to say no” thing. I also need to get a handle on what is my job, and what isn’t … Delegation is NOT the enemy, apparently!! (Not sure if I actually believe that one yet, but we are working on the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy on this one!) And I’m definitely working on letting go of the bitterness over being treated unfairly. Sometimes people won’t like me. Sometimes they will say things that are unkind and untrue. I can’t control that, but I CAN control my reactions to it. I’m not going to let my involvement in things that I love, and believe in, be impacted by that. What I do matters. As teachers, what WE do matters. I believe in it, and I believe in my ability to do it well, to make a difference, and to impact the lives of others. I can see it now … still a little hazy, still hurting, but slowly healing. They may not read this post, but there are some wonderful people who are responsible for helping me through the past few weeks, and you should know who you are. Thankyou!!

So I can see it. The holidays. The importance of taking care of me tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. The value of making the most of what I have, and where I am. And the fact that I do enough, feel enough, AM ENOUGH, no matter what anyone else thinks about me. I hope you know that about you too!!

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Posted December 9, 2012 by Tamara Reads in category General musings, Ponderings on Education

About the Author

She/her. On Whadjuk Noongar land. NSWPRC Officer, Teacher Librarian, English teacher and social media advocate. I've been teaching in Western Sydney for my entire teaching career, and love my job more than I love Neil Gaiman. (That's a lot, in case you're wondering!) I stalk authors (but always politely), fangirl over books, and drink coffee. And one of my guilty prides about my children is that they all have favourite authors. All opinions are my own.

2 thoughts on “I can see it …

  1. Whartonag

    Oh my gosh, Tamara!!!
    Wow. I am going to print this blog post out and stick it in my teaching log book. I so enjoyed reading this and identified with your journey – the honesty and integrity with which you write was so refreshing. Perhaps you also do alot because you are more able than others, and them in their comments forget this. I love being a part if your PLN and am cheering you on all the way. I hoe you are enjoying your well deserved holiday 🙂


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