I just deleted the whole post I had started (and almost finished) here because of how whiny it sounded when I reread it just now. I’ve been crying a lot. That’s it. Don’t know why (maybe job-change, house in boxes for upcoming reno, band seemingly slowly dismantling, treadmill isn’t working, watching Call the Midwife, allergies, lack of sleep, being 40, maybe.)
In the meantime I blamed everything else imaginable. I know it’s not my husband’s fault, or lacrosse’s, or his band’s, or anything else I accused. But I can’t really fix any of the likely culprits. So I’m going to stop whining. (I might not be able to stop crying, but I can stop whining.)
That’s it. Short post. If I keep going it’s going to turn into whining. (And probably crying.)
So, if you’re one of the few, the proud, who have followed my journey into figuring out what I want to do now that I don’t need benefits – aka, my mid-life crisis – you’ll know that I’ve recently resigned my “coveted” (ha!) position as Curriculum Specialist and taken a job back in the classroom. I guess I’ll call that Step One.
I’m mixing reality shows, but somewhere between Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and The Biggest Loser, I know that at some point, a failed contestant has to look at the camera and say, “I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader,” and Bob Greene says to the kicked=0ff contestant “I’m sorry, but you are NOT the biggest loser.” I feel like when I walk off this job on June 14th, I’ll gladly look into a camera and say “My name is Angie, and I am NOT a curriculum specialist.”
And that makes me proud right now. I want to be a teaching specialist…A kid specialist, a learning and reading and thriving specialist, but not a curriculum specialist. Sure you have to have a curriculum – even though I managed to be a successful teacher for many years either without one or without paying attention to one. But I understand you have to know what you’re supposed to teach, and by nature, you need some measure of your and your students’ success with those goals. And since there are thousands of teachers in Texas – hundreds or more of which are not naturally good – there has to be a common assessment.
I don’t want a common classroom, though.
My treadmill broke last week, and it’s been stressing me into a depression. I’ve learned to do my running and walking in the comfort of my pollen-free bedroom while watching Keith Morrison lay out the details of murder after riveting murder. There is no way on earth I’m going back outside in the dark where the mosquitos are and it might be humid and there aren’t – fortunately and unfortunately – any murders to be solved. So I’ve done no running or walking, just cursing a lot at my treadmill and the scales.
So here’s where I’m going with this: The scales are how I measure and celebrate my hard work on the treadmill. But without the treadmill, I am stubbornly content to just watch that number go in the wrong direction and bitch about the broken treadmill – as if that’s how to fix it. Tests are how we measure our hard work in the classroom – Is that the way I’m going to measure and celebrate my hard work with kids??? Of course not! Never have, why start now?!? I want to find alternative ways – aka “the right ways” – to sneekily achieve what our advantaged students achieve – without the moaning and dread and copy machine. I know this is possible. Dear friend, colleague, mentor, in a conversation with a Resource teacher, flailing a STAAR practice workbook and bitching about the broken copier, reminded her that what kids really need to is to be reading. Resource teacher said to friend, “It’s not what your kids need, but it’s what my kids need,” (paraphrasing) to which friend replied, in her head, “My kids don’t need that because they REEEEAAAADDDD!!!!” I know these truths to be self-evident.
So translate, brainiac! (me to self) – If you can find alternative ways to facilitate a learning environment that achieves the same (or better) measures of success in the classroom, why are you so uncreative and unwilling with the running?? You ran outside for decades when it was all you had, but you’ve been spoiled. Would you be complaining about your kids scores if you had given up on them too?
Not sure what the challenge here is, but I think it’s along these lines: You know what the goal is, and you know what your resources are, and you know what you have to do…Don’t blame a broken treadmill for your lack of activity. And don’t ever blame a set of broken standards for your lack of creativity.
Confidence is a funny thing…it comes and goes, and not at convenient times. I have been told many times – after dates, interviews, by friends and co-workers – that my confidence is one of my strengths.
It only makes sense that I’m an amazing actress, because this idea that I have confidence, much less enough to be admired, is one of the more bizarre things I’ve had to get a grip on as a human person.
I know the things that I am good at – I’ll even be so bold as to say that there are some things that I feel I am one of the best at…in my field…in this area…during this time period…but still. Piano, art, teaching, all areas I feel truly confident. I make bold choices for my home and I don’t worry about them or question what anyone else will think about them. That’s confidence, right?
There’s not even a word, however, for how I feel about other things…inconfident, unconfident, nonconfident? It’s not the same thing as self-conscious, though I definitely suffer from that curse too. It’s more that sense of being judged, being talked about negatively by the popular girls, being measured up against. I can put on an outfit I love, fix my hair and makeup perfectly, choose accessories that I know people will compliment, feel fabulous about myself, and still as soon as I step out of the car to walk up to a place, I’m as close to panicking inside as a person can get without a diagnosis. Does everyone feel this way? Was my maturity stunted in junior high by some traumatic girl-incident that I’ve blocked out of my memory?
Yesterday, my hott husband and I had a chance to take advantage of the perfect day and go out on the motorcycle. We had been wanting to ride up to The Heights and cruise through the cool old revived neighborhoods and eat at BB’s to get our Cajun fix. Since it was 70ish degrees outside and likely to cool down as the night wore on, I wore a Nike jacket, running tights, and my new snow boots since they are warm and cover my legs where they need to be covered to serve as protection. We parked and started walking toward the restaurant where, I must say, I immediately noticed that everyone was dressed as if it was an occasion. Standing in line to get a table, I heard a guy behind me say to his date, “those are some awesome shoes, aren’t they,” and I swear he was pointing at my shoes and snickering. Granted, I would have been the person in line behind me thinking “What was that girl thinking? It’s April in Texas – put the Uggs in the attic, or better yet Goodwill,” because yeah, sometimes I’m that mean. Oh. My. God. That’s why I’m inconfident…It’s my own fault.
What the person behind me should have thought, which was what I was screaming in my head, was, “THERE’S A VERY GOOD REASON WHY THIS INTELLIGENT GROWN-ASS WOMAN IS WEARING SNOW BOOTS IN TEXAS IN APRIL!” And now, as I preach to myself, I must remember the same.
That tattoo might be weird and not make sense to me, but I’m sure that’s not how the recipient felt about it when they got it. That shirt might be buttoned up two buttons too high, but she or he chose that number of buttons to button and who am I to judge? Or CARE, for that matter?
I think what I’ve learned here is that I may never know true confidence in these areas until I learn to stop worrying about other people’s choices. Accept it. There it is. Just accept it.
Actually, I’m thinking about the things I don’t understand about some people and I’m realizing how hard it’s going to be to just accept certain things. So, I’m going to learn to accept without understanding. That’s better. It’s like agreeing to disagree, but better because I’M going to be better for it in the end.
Ugh…this is stressful already. But I want confidence so badly – the kind that a forty-year old should have earned by now. I’ll let you know how it goes…this might take some falling down and getting up.
The challenge said “A to Z”, doesn’t sound so hard to me.
Twenty-six days of blogging – I blog twenty-six times a day in my head. But maybe – maybe – that’s the challenge…ONLY twenty-six things to blog about.
I read the challenge, contemplated, and accepted.
Cocky. Sometimes I pretend I’m confident.
Acceptance means commitment. Acceptance means challenge. Acceptance means a schedule. Acceptance means I could fail.
I accepted a new job last week (haven’t told my boss yet). But I’ve committed. I’ve been challenged. I now have a schedule. And I could fail.
So just as I accepted this A-Z poetry/blog challenge, I accepted a job that will make me have to plan every day again, deal with something new every day again, and put a huge part of myself out there for judgment, scrutiny, and personal and professional evaluation every day again.
But that’s what I’ve missed. So here I am – Challenge Accepted.
“Contemplation, concentration, anticipation, revelation…”
Lines from a Coastal Bend B-side non-hit (not that any of our other songs have made it onto the FM dial, but still). A line our song-writer-leader-producer Tim wrote for me to sing. I’m quite proud of the final cut of the song, but the morose nature of his creation certainly isn’t a sing-along that’ll win over new fans at your local bar…
It came to mind just now as I’m trying to write a mission statement for my life – an assignment given to me by my boss after I shared (under duress) with her the fact that I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this job and that maybe I should go back the classroom.
Then, sitting next to Danette in writing group – who showed me a post about Coastal Bend (my band) – I couldn’t help but get stuck on these lyrics (just be glad these aren’t the ones I decided to tattoo on my hip in an earlier state of duress).
After reassuring me that I AM the right person for this job (…and other flattering things I’ll get into later), my boss asked me to do two things before making a decision – one of which was to write my own personal mission statement. She wants to see it when I’m done, and we’ll analyze whether it’s the mission statement of a teacher or that of a curriculum specialist.
I’ve written one draft already and deleted it because it was quite contrived to fit my current mood. I always seem to connect lyrics to songs to how I’m feeling – and then proceed to sing loudly so that all the land is on my page – so I feel like the place to actually, and honestly start, is with these lyrics. “Contemplation, concentration, anticipation, revelation” sums up what I love about people and teaching and my job and what I want to do and get better at and shout from the mountaintop.
Please ignore the fact that the name of the song I’m quoting is “Waste of Time”. The line from a Coastal Bend song that I DO have tattooed on me is “Let Me Show You How to Fly”…which would be much more appropriate for my Mission Statement 1.0.
I believe my earthly “job” is to inspire. Though my content skills may be surpassed by others, there is something about the transference of attitude, desire, and sound philosophy that intrigues me. It is the one element common to all of my jobs and hobbies that I think about night and day…How is what I am doing going to inspire others? It motivates me to push myself in ways that nothing else will. I haven’t mastered this art, but I long to more than any other professional goal.
Stay tuned. This will get better. Otherwise, I think it tells me I have a career in a commune somewhere where Becca teaches Yoga and I close the day with an inspirational quote worthy of Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley.