I have been doing nothing but complaining. And I always hated the burnt out ones. I always wondered, why are you here if you find no joy in what you do? Well, I left even though I found joy in what I did.
There is, of course, the joy in the students. When they make me laugh, when they share incredible talent and intelligence, when they share KINDNESS and I no longer fear for the future.
There is joy in the work of the job. Planning lessons sometimes made me very happy. (Every time I got to plan them my way. When things were mandated, I was angry. The love was drained from it. But I got away with autonomy most of the time.) I loved crafting lessons around literature and writing and around theatre.
I loved taking them from not knowing anything about something to really getting it. I loved hearing them begrudgingly admit they liked trying something new and the class “was actually kinda fun.”
I love in English instilling confidence in writing through an understanding of the process and a love for literature. I loved building confidence for students to speak out loud, speak loud, work together, push their brains and trick their brains to memorize, to teach them to use their bodies and their spirits on stage.
I love throwing them onstage for a performance, never once feeling ready, and seeing them pull it off.
There is joy in those really hard times. In a way. In a way there is joy in coming to school the day after a student has been shot prepared as you can be to be what the students need. No, this is wrong. There is no joy. There is however, satisfaction in, after seeing bruises around a students neck and with the help of the school adjustment counselor, filling with DCFS and getting that child to a safe place. There is something, something in those days where a student comes to me to tell me her friend is suicidal and I can step in and get that kiddo help. It’s a feeling that I’m in the right place. I can’t always do everything but I can do something to be who these kids need me to be.
After writing all of the other posts so far I was left anxious and feeling that I never COULD go back, even if I wanted to. After writing this post there is a blaring voice in my head that says: “I have to direct youth again.” And the only image of it in my mind is through a classroom environment. I need to teach again.
But is it a trap? Aren’t I forgetting something?