Today, for Reverb13, Kat McNally gives us this as our prompt
What was the greatest risk you took in 2013? What was the outcome?
And Project Reverb offers up these questions for pondering
Challenge: Did you take on a new challenge? What was it? Is there are challenge you deliberately avoided? What do you want to do to challenge yourself in 2014?
So nice the way these two go together today. I’d have to say that the biggest risk and the greatest challenge that I’ve taken on this year was stepping back into the classroom. I wasn’t sure at all about doing it. I’ve been out of the public schools since 2011, and while that doesn’t seem like a long time, it is. And really, I’ve been away from full-time classroom teaching since 2004.
As I began my interviews, I knew that I was going to have to do demonstration lessons if things got that far, and I was absolutely panicked about it. I knew that I was going to be rusting and I knew that things were going to be difficult going in, but the truth of the matter was that I didn’t really know if I could really do it or not…and that’s probably because I have never really known if I could do it or not.
Suffering from what I believe to be imposter syndrome (no official diagnosis – is there one for that? Or do we all just think that’s what we have and go on?), I’ve never thought that I was a very good teacher. At times I worked hard at it, but I also always thought that I made the students work a whole helluva lot harder than I did, that I in fact, did very little teaching. (I hear that’s what “they” want you to do, that’s how it’s supposed to be done)
At the time that I decided to head back into the classroom, I don’t think I really had much choice. I needed a job. Education presented itself. And back to it I went.
It hasn’t been too bad, all things considered. I work with really rough kids. Every day they challenge me. Every day I leave feeling like a little bit of a failure. Every day I feel, as one of my darlings so apt put it, like “a really pitiful teacher.” (said when I kept hounding him to get online and do his webquest)
I dread Mondays, but it’s not the sickening dread that I used to have. I dread it because I’m not sure what the students are going to throw at me or what the mood of the building is going to be like – what politics are going to be working and at play. I think, though, that I am doing a decent job. And that’s enough…and much better than where I was.
As far as challenges I did NOT accept, that would be to make things work at my previous job. I was given that option at the end of July. I was put on an “Improvement Plan” and given a set of guidelines that outlined my continued employment and the expectations for my role.
While I signed off on the document, there were two things about it – one, I knew that the higher ups at the company were not going to allow me to be successful, and two, I didn’t want to be successful. Shortly after I signed that document, I read a post from Danielle LaPorte about how if you want to do the things you desire most, if you want to make change…then you have to quit doing the things you don’t want to do.
So that’s what I did. I still went to work. I still did my job. I stopped putting in 12 days. I quit focusing so intently on what needed to be done there. I stopped worrying about it. I did what I needed to do to get through each day, and then I began trying to make forward movement in other places. It was absolutely the very right decision.