This has been one of the most stressful and difficult years of my life. I haven’t posted in a very long time as a result of being so completely overwhelmed. I consider myself a fairly resilient person and have overcome many obstacles in my life. I accept that there are still many challenges ahead. I see the value in challenges and their necessity in helping us to realize our purpose or as an avenue for self improvement. I have found it extremely difficult to sort through the minutiae to understand exactly what my current situation is supposed to teach me. So far, I have had a few little “aha” moments that I believe will carry me through to see the big picture when it is finally revealed to me.
One important thing I have learned this year is that I love being a teacher. I will admit that there have been moments in the past that I have questioned my abilities as an educator or whether the negatives outweighed the positives. You can only hear people say things like “I could never do what you do.” or “I don’t know how you deal with all of that.” so many times before you start to question your own sanity! I still believe in the educative process and that we have the power to change lives and improve society. However, I think the system is extremely flawed and the perception of teachers in our society needs to shift away from thinking teachers are, single-handedly, the problem in education. If the general public understood just how little autonomy teachers had, they might start to question why so many decisions and regulations have been put in place with seemingly little to do with what is in the best interest of children and stop spending so much time posting silly memes on Facebook about “that darn Common Core math!” More often than not, the teacher is the person advocating for your child, spending countless hours trying to circumvent many of the obstacles that have been placed in the way of your child’s cognitive and emotional development, by local, state, and national agencies, who may or may not have any qualifications to do such. With that being said, I feel driven to find a way to help teachers better serve their students. We have to find a voice. When and how I could do this has yet to be revealed.
Probably the most important thing I have learned this year, or perhaps, I have relearned this year would be about balance and taking care of myself. Life is stressful for everyone these days but you cannot succumb to stress by completely sacrificing yourself. I learned the hard way, during Thanksgiving break, just how detrimental sacrificing self care can be. In the past, it was very rare that I would get completely sidelined by illness. My immune system is usually pretty sturdy from exercising regularly, eating a fairly balanced diet, and enjoying time with friends and family. However, my seemingly endless and fruitless attempts to “catch up” has only left me drained and sick since the school year began. When I was diagnosed with Strep the day before Thanksgiving, I realized what needed to be done. I had to get back to exercising, eating better, being social, and basically finding balance in my life. I will never be able to see through all of the stress and minutiae, if I don’t take a little time to show myself that I deserve to be treated better. I want my mind to be clear so that I can be receptive when the bigger picture is unveiled to me. After all, the teacher in me knows how important physical activity is for optimal cognitive function.
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season upon us, let us not lose sight of how important it is to take at least a few moments to take care of ourselves. Your house and holiday plans may look like the most impressive board on Pinterest, but being sick in bed or biting off the heads of anyone who dares to come within a 50 yard radius of you, is sure to devastate the intended joy of this special time of year.