That if you love what you do, it will never feel like work. And I truly believe this. And over the years, recent years, some aspects of my job have felt like very hard work. I love teaching. It has been such a fundamental part of who I am and allows me to practice my beliefs – political and spiritual. It permits me to serve, to give back and to feel like I am changing the world.
But, teaching does not afford me the complete lifestyle that I would like in my later years.
And it has only been the last couple of months, since New York City, that I feel I have been able to articulate this to myself. And that I deserve the life that I want rather than the life I have.
Again, I love teaching. More often than not I derive real strength, fulfilment and happiness in the practice of teaching. I love seeing my kids, and I love helping them develop the tools to make sense of, and to ultimately create their own world.
Unfortunately though, this is a small part of teaching. Behaviour management and the politics, watching dispassionate teachers destroy the learning experience for kids and not care that they are, seeing parents who are so disconnected from their children and have no idea how to raise them, increasing rates of poor mental health in kids and adults, this takes up most of the time in teaching. Then there are the long hours, the never ending take home work, the stress from the welfare support, the extra duties and ongoing support of staff, parents and students, and the lack of gratitude.
Quite frankly, the pay doesn’t adequately make up for what you lose. Time with family and friends, happiness, peace.
And this, well, this part I think I am too old for, too impatient for, too arrogant for.
Not today, but in coming years I do not think I will enjoy teaching as much as I do, or as much as I have.
And I deserve more.
Those words have taken me a long time to believe. I am deserving. I am valuable.
I never used to believe this or feel this truly. My self worth was non-existent. Hard work and never ending support from those closest to me has forced me to change my internal dialogue over time.
And as I have grown to appreciate my worth, I realise that I am growing out of my old lifestyle. And I think it is okay to say that it is time for a change.
Not a change in school. I love my school, it’s staff and its students, and it’s community. I have a lot to offer my school and I achieve a phenomenal success there.
Not a change in system. Hehe, public all the way because public education is the cornerstone and provides the foundation for a successful democracy where all are regarded as equal and equally deserving.
A change in my lifestyle. I deserve that. We all do.
But, change is terrifying.
I am terrified.
The lifestyle I envisage in my later years is one that is calmer and more peaceful than my current lifestyle. I still want to teach, I still want to heal/help. I still want interaction and fun from time with others. And I want to write.
My small business will permit all of this.
But, I’m not a business person. However, I crave challenge: another tick.
The fear has been, and will continue to be, the thing that I need to acknowledge but then act in spite of. I can do that … I think.
In her Big Magic podcasts, and in her book, Liz Gilbert (yes, hero worship) says that she has always had to fight her fears. Rather than conquering it though, she acknowledges it and regards it as part of her success/family. She doesn’t let fear rule though, and she doesn’t let fear speak or govern her choices.
And I think this is crucial to success.
Acknowledge the fear. But don’t embrace it. Twenty seconds of courage and just decide to do it (big thanks to We Bought a Zoo and The Newsroom Series 1 Episode 1).
Then make it happen.
I am building slowly. Usually I decide I want to do something and I run at it like a bull at a gate. Not this time. This time I’m letting every step sit with me for a little while and I have developed a realistic time frame. It is almost too slow but I am hoping that my success wil be ensured with a slower pace.
Anyway, upshot of this is that I am going to create the life I want and that I believe I deserve.
I’d like you to do the same. Are you happy? Do you live your job? Does it feel like you aren’t really working?
If not, twenty seconds of courage and jump. You deserve it.