Earlier last month, I googled “teacher so tired”–yes, that was my exact phrasing. I turn into a cave woman sometimes when I’m googling. The start of a lovely school year, except I wasn’t feeling it. It’s partially because at our work we also teach a full summer camp program. There is no time to miss teaching or the kids. They are ALWAYS there.
Don’t get me wrong, I love working with kids. In some ways, it’s a total selfish endeavor. I can enter a class moody, tired or ruminating over something & almost instantly the students give me energy & bring me back into the present moment. They are my Deepak Chopras in that way. Without fail, I get as into the creative storytelling process as they do, and all is well with the world again. But 90 kids a day, new kids every 6-7 weeks, year after year after year.
I guess if I add it up, I’ve been in this field for 15 years or so (give a take a few years because I’m really bad at history). I truly believe from the bottom of my heart that every kid needs some fun injected into their school days & I know the work I’ve done has been good. I feel lucky to have landed in something I’m so passionate about & to be able to serve so many kids.
While I love what I do and feel grateful for being able to do it–it’s been hard to admit to myself when I’m feeling tired, bored or “over” it. I CRAVE challenges in my life. I love doing the thing I thought I could not do (hello marathon!). I like feeling terrified sometimes. Teaching used to be that for me. I would get nervous the first day of class. I would panic over my curriculum. It’s not like that anymore. I feel super comfortable in the classroom. And the tired part. I can’t describe it to you without sounding like a complaint but trying to engage/encourage/support/teach everyday–as much as it gives energy, it definitely takes it away. And I’ve tried to problem-solve all of this. I’m teaching different classes now (film!), new curriculum & working one-on-one more with classroom teachers at their schools. I mix it up, but it still feels too comfortable. Don’t worry if my bosses are reading this or not. I’m always too honest with them about how I feel.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about different roads to travel. I think about when I was 21, and I moved to Seattle & then to L.A. like it was no big deal. No fear. I crave those stories when someone left their comfort zone & tried something totally new/different, so please feel free to share them with me. Security can be really persuasive sometimes, but we’re here for such a limited amount of time! I don’t want to spend years of it in a comfort zone. Also, I worry about being an old crazy drama teacher–with too many scarves & flowy pajama pants.
My students made a documentary on our organization’s founder. In one of the interviews, he said–“I follow my creativity, wherever it takes me.” It’s been stuck in my brain for over a year now because it makes so much sense to me. I look at my creative choices when I was a young kid–“Hey cousins, let’s form a band and only do covers of Chipmunk covers!” “Hey, let me be Dolly Parton on that parade float–you can be Reba!” “Let’s make a movie about this tiny stuffed Santa doll!” “Let’s put on this Charlie Brown play!” I can’t tell you these were Oscar-award/Nobel Peace Prize kind of ideas, but they were all coming from a super strange/fun/creative part of me that didn’t think too hard about if it was a “good” idea or not, or if it would be successful. Mom and Dad would have to watch the show, so there are at least 2 people in the audience. With extended family forced to sit through it–that’s an even bigger audience.
I know, I know–I didn’t have to pay rent as a little kid. We DID charge for concessions we borrowed from the pantry, though, so I think I could’ve managed that if I had to. But there is still this *no fear* part of me that’s very much alive and ready for the next adventure, wherever it leads. Thanks for allowing me this very public forum to figure out life choices. Ha. I will keep you updated.