Time flies and we grow professionally without really noticing the progress. But if you stop for a while and take a deep breath, you realize that you are not the person you used to be a few months ago …
Two of my recent high-stakes professional endeavours have convinced me that as a teacher, I have made a leap in what I am able to do and, most importantly, how I feel about what I do. I have come to realize, for example, that being able to manage a group of young people, which, in fact, many people not involved in education believe is a piece of cake, is one of my most invaluable skills. But my real victory lies in the fact that these days, I feel perfectly comfortable in class.
This, however, hasn’t come without a price. Obviously, hard work and planning is always a must, especially when dealing with a complex subject and/or a group of people I don’t know well. The good news is that everything gets easier with time and experience. But I’ve also learned to acknowledge that things almost never pan out exactly the way I want them to, no matter how detailed my plan is.
This brings me to another strength of mine which I have recently discovered and that is that I have acknowledged and accepted the fact that many things happening in class are totally under my control but there still may be some which are not. I have consciously and willingly embraced the danger that there may always be a tipping point beyond which I may become totally powerless as a teacher and then my back-up system, my contingency, automatically takes over. This contingency is probably in my DNA and it is part of some deep, human intuition. But it’s also an imaginary box filled with my life/teaching experience.
I have learned that in critical situations when there is no time for panicking or surrender, I can make remarkably quick decisions, which eventually turn out to work out just fine. I sometimes feel a tad guilty for giving orders and commands to people who are by no means my subordinates, but that’s how I act in emergencies. Most importantly, to keep everybody else relatively calm, I can act as if nothing is really the issue. I collapse afterwards when nobody is looking.
Also, I lose less and less sleep over what might potentially have gone better. Things went wrong even though I had done my best to prevent failure. Period. It does hurt for a while but when the emotional pain subsides, I’ll try to learn from my mistake and move on. What a cliché!
Finally, I’d say that I no longer have a reassurance deficit. Don’t get me wrong; even the most secure people need reassurance sometimes and that’s what close friends, colleagues and relatives are for, but in most situations, I feel I’m doing just fine. Perhaps I have dusted off my inner compass which tells me whether I’m making the right move. Ironically, the more OK you feel with yourself, the less criticism from others comes your way.
PF 2020 🙂