I am not a perfect person. I am far from it. But I own my negative and positive traits almost equally these days. I make mistakes but I try to make good on them every time.
My forties have seen me really start to appreciate who I am and what I stand for. I have achieved it all by owning the things I do, the things I don’t do, and always striving to be the best person that I am capable of being.
As a teacher, I work hard. I maintain that there isn’t a better feeling than knowing that you have made a difference in a child’s life.
On Thursday, I had such a moment with one of our kids. She had a detention for something that had happened the day before in her class. There was something in her aura that wasn’t ringing right with me as I spoke to her and the other kids. I kept her back. She was initially reluctant and then spoke. We cried together. She left with strategies, and temporarily, a little lighter.
On Friday, she went out of her way to say thank you and to touch base with me.
One of the strategies I used with her was to get her to look into the mirror in our staff room and tell me what she saw. Most kids don’t see the good things that they are. I told her the beauty that I saw within her. Without calling them affirmations, I told her how to write them and how to use them; one tool that will help her focus on the good and strong within her so that she makes better choices in relationships than her mum has.
I love these moments in my job. Mostly because I start by not knowing how to help and have to find the way real quick, and whilst still actively listening. But mostly, it’s the pure exchange of story that results in such a real and strong connection between people.
This is one of my strengths. As a teacher and I guess, for the most part, as a person. I possess a strong empathy for others.
I will always tell the truth. Or, more realistically, my truth. And I will always act the way I perceive will be most beneficial and appropriate to any given situation. At times, I have fallen to fear, which is normal, but I always find the strength to do what I perceive to be right eventually.
At times, this has upset others. They perceive a disloyalty as a result. But it isn’t that. As I have aged I have gained the ability to sit, reflect, contextualise, and decide, before acting.
I will always do what I perceive to be the right thing. And in that process I work tirelessly to ensure that my decisions and actions are not a result of ego, but have true and pure intent.
I act with integrity in my public and private lives.
As a result of who I am and how intensely I feel, I have threatened to resign from teaching, more so education, many times throughout my career. I do not like the politics, the bureaucracies, the processes; most go against every principle I hold dear for the world that I would like to live and teach in.
But I stay because I love being in my classroom. I stay because I am a strong role model. As a woman, as a person, as a survivor, as a fighter, as a learner. Things that my students only benefit from. And if I take myself away from that, the students lose the benefit of all that I am. The same as they do when any great teacher leaves.
No, these are not tickets on myself; these are facts. It has taken me a long time to be able to voice them with confidence.
On Thursday, I received news that lead to a fear of potentially losing my right to choose my career. Far from resolved, the issue has caused me a great deal of anxiety. I am sick to the stomach, literally.
I have accessed my personal support network and after a fog on Friday, am accessing the professional tools needed to resolve the issue.
There is a significant battle/process lying ahead for me. I believe that my integrity, my core principles, and everything that I have ever experienced has prepared me to enter the process with my head held high.
I have many friends struggling with their own process battles at the moment (the winds of change). Battles have ups and downs, trials and tribulations, raise questions, make us question ourselves. It is important to always fight the good fight. We never know who may benefit from our fights long after the battles are over. And I hope that we are all victors by the end of it. Yes, with scars to carry but resolve to create a better world intensified too.