My gap year is about finding and then living my bliss. I’m predominantly living off savings. I’ve had a little bit of casual work to supplement this, basically to pay bills. I have a vague vision for my life and I have decided that anything that does not fit into the vision must go.
I always have theories about stuff. I sometimes find it difficult to manifest any that connect to work, self-worth or guilt/shame. My parents instilled a strong work ethic, and a strong sense of responsibility and commitment.
Because of fear, guilt and a misguided sense of loyalty to others before myself, I have often made poor choices for my welfare. I’ve stayed in relationships longer than I should, kept friends who weren’t really friends, and worked in places and for people that used me.
I had committed to work to the end of term, Friday week, and I was taking that commitment seriously. Due to appointments I wasn’t working today or yesterday. Wednesday was my third day of work this week and last. I could make it through.
Tuesday afternoon finished badly – kids walked out before the bell. I wrote them up. I followed them to see many kids had left their classrooms. Hmmm.
Wednesday morning started badly. A rude girl answered her phone, refused to leave the room, held court and disrupted everyone. Another rude girl gave lip and refused to follow instructions, and then a boy was rude to me. I had the same class later that day. The deputy was called for – the Head Teacher was away.
I reminded the kids they owed me detention in the next period. The boy said, You are fucked. I gave no response. He unleashed, You are a fucking dickhead, fuck off, you are a both, get fucked, etcetera etcetera.
The kids laughed during his vulgar minute long assessment of me. I just looked at him. I have a foul mouth, the language doesn’t upset me personally; however, the disrespect does. The Head Teacher had already removed phone girl and was leaving premises so I was virtually stick there with this predominantly rudeclass.
I started recording the behaviour in Sentral. As time came closer for the bell, I moved towards the door. When the bell went, I closed the door. They all stayed. After some stern words from me, they knew they were there for disrespect or failure to work as hard as they could or both.
The swearer kept swearing during his litany because he was trying to get a reaction from me, a reaction that I didn’t give. A fifteen year old in Year 8; obviously he has experienced disconnected learning probably due to a traumatic past. However, I didn’t deserve the rudeness of him or his peers.
I was faced with a choice.
We choose how we are treated by other people. I do not trust that his bad behaviour will be followed up. I have seen other students break the school rules repeatedly without consequence from higher up. I was told by one staff member that I needed to lower my expectations of what the students would achieve with me.
Nuh uh. That’s not how I work.
But, this year is about me consolidating everything I have learned and manifesting the life I desire. I am valuable. I am worthy. I am happy.
I am a casual teacher. I do not need to tolerate this behaviour.
And, so I told the class that their collective behaviour saddened me. To the core. Because they always want to be given a chance and become quite upset if they feel they aren’t given a fair go. But they don’t extend the same courtesy to others. And as a result, they have lost a phenomenal teacher whom they could have loved, if they had given her a chance. I explained to them that life is short, and we choose how others value us. I told them that they would not have me again, but not to cheer about it, because they haven’t got rid of me. I choose me. I choose happiness. And it is only their loss. I lose nothing.
After twenty minutes I released them. I went to the Deputy Principal and I apologised that I would not be able to fulfill my commitment this term because life is too short and me, and my health, are worth infinitely more. A beautiful soul, she said she understood.
And so, for the first time in my life, I quit.
And by doing so, I put my needs first, my happiness first, and sent out the signal that I am worth more than the treatment of those children suggests. I could have stayed and fought. But that would be meeting the needs of the children and the school alone, and my needs are finally more important to me because I am valuable.
It has been a long road to get here, and I am very much a work in progress, but I’m starting to get it.
I create the life I want by the choices I make.
If I am unhappy, I need to change the things that I am doing. If I want a certain life, I need to create that life by living it. Trust that I will be provided for, and so, that’s what I’m going to do.
What will be, will be.
I refuse to be disrespected or undervalued ever again.