Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Teaching Blues.

Before I begin,
let me start this by being completely and utterly honest. 
No sugar coating, beating around the bush & softening the truth. 

Somewhere along the line, I lost my passion for teaching. 

The realisation that everything I had worked so hard for over the years, something that once upon a time was the only light during a very dark time in my life became something I began to despise - was a hard pill for me to swallow. 

I didn't take to that statement lightly. In fact, it took me a very long time to admit I wasn't enjoying it anymore. 

As a new teacher, I was bombarded with the 'how's it all going?' questions... questions I tried hard to avoid answering truthfully. When I refer back to teaching as being 'the only light during a very dark time', I honestly mean it. It was the one thing that managed to drag me out of the bed I had gotten to know a little to well over the past 5 years. 

This is something I had posted at the end of my training year: 

I officially finished my final placement & my last day as a trainee teacher yesterday. A year ago, who would of thought I'd be sitting here preparing to decorate my own classroom and meet my own class? I've met the most amazing people who I've found a friend for life in. I have been pushed to breaking point (a PGCE does that to you) & wondered if it was all worth it. I have had the pleasure to teach 3 amazing classes, all whom which will have a little place in my heart forever, I'll always be your 'school Mum'. I have taught the most amazing, thoughtful & brightest kids who have all reminded me why teaching was God's plan for me. I have been blessed with such great mentors, who have given me advice I will take with me into my first year as a newly qualified teacher. I have felt such love and support from all my amazing friends & family, who I could not have done this without. At first, I merely started this course because I wanted to ensure I had a career that would enable me to support my parents & a career they would be proud of; but the past year has been the happiest year of my life, I have finally found something I am passionate about & love. MAMA I DID IT.

I still can’t quite believe that the same person who wrote that, is the same person that is  writing this blog post. 

As you can imagine, I was extremely excited to finally have my own class. Then the reality of the real world of teaching hit me in waves, and I was drowning. I gave up all my time, and I was physically & mentally exhausted. I wasn't able to process that the one thing I had always been so sure on, began to make me unhappy?

Whenever anyone would ask the 'how's it going' questions, I began to give the same response every time 'hmm' & nothing more. I would answer vaguely and coldly. I didn't want to accept that the very career that saved me, was the very same career that was making me so miserable. 

But everyone around me was so 'proud'. Everyone around me loved telling me how I had 'made it'. I just wanted to scream 'NO I HAVEN'T'. How do you define 'making it/success'? Career milestones? Finances? None of that meant anything to me. To the everyone else, I have 'smashing' life apparently. To me, that was a far cry from the truth. I felt obliged to keep up appearances - every one knew me as ‘Sauwei the teacher who loves her job'.

I began to feel so much guilt. Why weren't my kids enough to make me happy? They always have been? I was present, but I wasn't really there. I began to have very little patience. I wasn't able to be there for the emotional needs of my class 100% of the time - how could I when I wasn’t emotionally well either? How do I explain to my kids, 'Hey, Miss Chac isn't able to give you her all right now?'. So, every day I put on a front and I tried to mask it as best as I could. My kids still, and always have seen me as 'loving, funny, happy Miss Chac; who never shouts.' I would never want them to see me as anything else, so I kept on going. But deep down I always felt like I could be doing more, giving more of me - the happiest version of me. 

There have been a few too many moments I have felt like giving it all up. I was and still am, very lost. If this career wasn't for me, what was I supposed to do now? Start again? Throw the whole career away? I pondered for months over alternative careers I could see myself in, and every time I came to the same conclusion - there was no other career. 

I have always said, if something doesn't feel right anymore - stop. I would like to think that a lot of other teachers out there have felt/feels the same. I remember hoping I never lose my passion and love for teaching, and I certainly wasn't expecting it so early on in my career. Your NQT is meant to be the most exciting year, you come in with all these hopes and expectations and you’re bursting with ideas. I guess I can finally see why so many teachers end up leaving the profession. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt like this? And I’m sure somewhere along the lines these feelings really are just ‘teaching blues’ and I’ll get back to the real reason why I teach. 

Nonetheless, one thing will always remain constant - I love the children I teach & they are the only reason why I choose to not give it all up. I want to make it clear that the majority of the time I am in the classroom teaching, I am happy - it's just everything else in-between.  

That's my uncensored, un-edited, truth. It is important to me to always start and end in the truth and nothing less. I'm not here to paint my triumphs and hide away my struggles. I don't believe I could really document my journey and reflect the real life of a teacher  without telling you all why it isn't and will probably never be - sunshines and rainbows all the time. But I don't think that fire ever really dies out, it just get's lost amongst the crazy.

Lots of Love,


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