That title is SUCH a loaded question these days. How much do you love what you do?
Mic drop... silence... uncomfortable silence... where do we go from here.....
This weekend I was confronted with a Facebook post from Kim over at Kindergals. The picture said something like "can you love your job, but hate going back to work on Monday?" And I realized something, I don't like to share the bad or the ugly. And the fug-ly, well you are NEVER going to see that. So what happens, why am I even talking about this?
This whole thing actually started on instagram with someone being suzie sunshine and posting about being super stoked about going back to work after the break. And a teacher feeling guilty because she was having a rough year and didn't really want to go back to work after the break, asked if something was wrong with her.
Wait! Hold the phone... my jaw hit the floor! How on earth could a teacher ask if something was wrong with her/ him because she/ he wasn't feeling warm fuzzies about going back to work after a holiday!! And I began to worry that being positive and never shown the bad or ugly... or heaven help us the fug-ly... was setting someone up with misconceptions.
Y'all, I wish that I could transport you into my classroom and see all the imperfections (just look at that table- glad you can't see under it!). I wish that I could put you inside my thoughts to see all that I hid from. If I wasn't so scared that my blog posts weren't up to par then I would blog more! Yep... there I said it! And the same is true with my TPT products. I make TONS of things for my kids, but I don't have the understanding of how to link in a PDF to fulfill some artists TOU. So instead of putting out something that might be useful, I keep it to myself. Yep, really. I've been working on sentence builders and readers since early December for the month of January. We are using them in my room, but I can't get them "sparkly" enough to feel like they would work on TPT.
This is EXACTLY how this teacher was feeling!! She had "that" class this year and didn't want to go back and face starting over. I've been there. I've walked those same steps! I've cried in the school parking lot and made myself sick Sunday night with anticipation of the week to come. That year for me, the one which would drive most teachers out of the classroom, happened about 5 years ago. And if I told you how horrible it was, you wouldn't believe me! I promise the stories sound made up, but they are real. And that year we had 3 principals (one changed schools right before school started, one left in January due to health concerns, and we ended the year with a temporary/ sub principal). Cross my heart, I am not making this up.
But that year was also a game changer for me. I learned who I could really lean on. I mean those teachers or family or friends who were going to be there when the bottom dropped out. I also learned that I am a lot better than I thought. Yea I kind of got my swagger that year. ;) Not gonna lie, it was rough... you would have to call it a fug-ly year. Maybe even fug-ly times 10! Yea, good times. Thinking back, I wouldn't give up that year for ANYTHING! That year grew me.
So I asked, how much do you love what you do? Me, I can't picture myself doing anything other than teaching. This job is hard, and this school year falls into the bad side- at least the first part does. But I know what these years mean, look for the lesson. It's there. What am I supposed to learn? What things are growing in my teaching? What is "wrong" that needs to be changed? (not bad wrong but more of a not working wrong- like you are never going to make a square block fit into a round hole kind of wrong) Once I start looking for the questions, the answers usually follow quickly.
What does that mean for those who are struggling? Here is what I think. I think that you should never feel guilty about not wanting to be subjected to something that is negative. I know what that is like and it's part of the reason that I don't "vent" here (or I try not to). But I don't want anyone to ever think it's all roses over here. There are days that I have to channel my inner Steward Smalley (of SNL fame).
So bottom line... I think you can love what you do but dread Monday. I think that you can be going through a horrible year but still love teaching. I think that if we are not careful we can create a situation where we are not real. I'm not saying complain or whine or vent all the time. But be real. Realize that others are watching, others don't see the bad or ugly. They see this polished and "media" ready classroom. They are not necessarily seeing the kid that is picking his nose and wiping it on the child next to him. Yep that happened today... right in the middle of a writing lesson and I lost EVERY child to the point that starting over was the only way to get everyone back on track. So a little GoNoodle and we are back at our lesson. That my friends is the real world, and it happens behind all the beautifully staged photos and planned blog posts or Instagram pictures. And I have decided to be ok with sharing that... my real world. I hope that you keep it real with me.