I shut the door–it opens.

How many days has it been since I mentally rehearsed my “I quit” speech?

Zero, zero, zero.

Yet I persist. I don’t know why. It defies all logic that I’ve let myself get put into the situation that I have.

Don’t get me wrong. I want so badly to both impart knowledge and support students in their growth. I love education. I believe in it. I’m trying to go back to school myself to learn more–to become more before I collapse in on myself for lack of betterment. And to be a better teacher.

I am currently teaching, as I may have mentioned, outside of my curriculum. It has been the hardest year of my life.

The highest math I ever had was MT 121 my freshman year of college. Of course I took two rounds of social statistics, but that doesn’t quite count. I spent (and still regularly spend, though not with the same frequency) hours working to reteach myself four concepts a week so that I can disseminate that knowledge on to my kids. I want to do right by them, even though I feel deficient. I never feel like I’m doing good enough. It’s hard for me to make them see the importance of fractions, irrational numbers, and angle sums when I question daily how I let myself become a math teacher.

Every day is an exercise in ego death. I wish I could say that at least my classroom management is perfect, but it is not. I have struggled with everything this year. Yes, it’s my first year, but I started off too yielding, too understanding, too soft. I’ve let myself be taken advantage of and everyone knows it. I can’t think about it too much or I feel so ashamed. I’ve tried to toughen up to survive these last few weeks.

I promise: I never went into this expecting it to be easy. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be taxing and there would be a lot of late nights.

I didn’t expect to cry every day for six months, though, or to work every night for weeks until I pass out from sheer exhaustion, surrounded by half-complete paperwork. Or to feel so alone while I go at it.

I haven’t had much of a personal life since school started in August. I’ve went out three times since then: once as the designated driver, and twice recently for a friend’s birthday. Every time, I’ve wondered why I let my personal life fall to ruins. I miss having friends and seeing them and not going from work to home. I don’t even really go to the store these days thanks to Amazon Prime. It’s so pathetic.

I’m thankful that this is only a year-long contract. The kids need someone that is more comfortable with math than I am, and I need to teach in one of the other three fields I’m both certified for and more knowledgeable about. I accepted this long-term substitute position because there was a dire need. I wanted to make a difference to my students, the security of a nice paycheck every two weeks, and a routine that was more predictable and structured than substituting day-to-day–and please don’t mistake me for an ungrateful person. I am so grateful that I do have a job and that I can pay my bills. I know that a lot of people don’t have that. I am fortunate.

I cannot, however, say that I would go into it again knowing what I now know. When I accepted, I was told by the county board that it would be one singular subject of math, that I would have help with every aspect, and that I would be furnished with everything (resource and supply-wise) I need.

Let me stress that I cannot complain about my school–the staff and administration are wonderful, truly. I have made some genuine friends this year. When I ask a colleague for help, I receive it. That said, I am ‘on’ from 1st period to 7th every day when my last class filters out. My planning period falls at the end of the day from 2:00 to 2:45–which I like–but that makes it inconvenient to seek out another teacher and request help when I am swamped with forms to fill out, papers to grade, parents to contact, excuses to turn in, tests to create, lesson plans to write, etc, etc, etc, and I know that my coworkers are as well.

I just wish I had been better prepared going into this. I do have co-teachers for two of my classes. When I can ask for help, I get it. I still can’t shake the feeling, though, that I’m a massive failure and can’t do anything right.

I don’t think it’s any secret to the people in my life that I have been operating under pretty steady depression and anxiety since last year. It’s been an on and off thing since I was 14, but being a workaholic shut-in has been a horse of a different color. I have kept on, expecting things to get better in time, but there’s always this raw, pulsating nerve lying under the surface of everything I do and say, reminding me of everything I haven’t done and said.


This has turned out to be so much longer than I intended. I’ve been holding a lot of it inside and, sadly, I could go on for hundreds of more words.

It may seem as though I’m really disenchanted with my job. I guess I am. That’s fair. I wish a lot of it was different or that I had acted/reacted differently to a plethora of situations that I’ve encountered this year. I’m going to try and chalk it all up to a very valuable learning experience and remember what made me crazy this year so that when I’m doing something different next year, I can hopefully do better for myself and more importantly, my kids.

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Tree of Stars

The solar panel’s shining face
Is smiling back on me
Twisting off into the sun
It’s okay to be lonely

All my missions float away
I never trained too hard
I’m so caught up in the tree of stars
Falling in my backyard

She’ll always be what I can’t find
She’ll always be where I break down
She’ll always hide behind a star
I’ll always dream she can’t be far

I’ve got no Houston to whine down to
I’ve got no protocol
Gravity’s so far away
Wrapped on that shrinking ball

I eclipsed my memories
Sleeping inside this pod
Patient time will carry me
On her back without a sigh

And I won’t let her down
Her soul is celestial-bound
And if I’m never found
She’ll always be

When you talk to me, I swear to God it’s like the sun is shining directly on me in the depths of midnight.

To the bone.

This year of work has been really challenging.

I love teaching. I love education. I love it when something really connects with a child and you see understanding roll over them like a tidal wave.

I do not love teaching outside of a curriculum that I am comfortable with. I do not love teaching five different preps a day. I do not love staying up until midnight reteaching myself concepts I haven’t encountered since I myself was in high school about seven years ago.

We started our typical high stakes testing last Wednesday, but today was the “real” beginning; that is, today, 1st/2nd/3rd period English classes began to test. My classroom is very close to two separate testing sites. I did a full set of lesson plans this week, complete with activities, assessments, and modifications. By 2nd period, it became quickly apparent to me that it would be very much NOT business as usual. Some class periods have been extended to ensure that students will have adequate time for testing. That said–students today had to go back to their testing sites in the afternoon because they did not finish.

I digress. I tried teaching class regularly today, but was told my class was too loud. Multiple times. I ended up feeling so upset and, frankly, kind of embarrassed, that I let myself slip into a kind of anxiety in which I let my kids play on their phones and read while I hovered around asking them to please, please, please be a little more quiet. It was not a good day.

I don’t really know what I’m going to do for the rest of the week. I need to find some quiet activities, I guess, because it doesn’t look like I’m going to get much actual teaching accomplished.

Rehoming.

I belong(ed) somewhere else for a really long time. Almost 10 years…but there’s a distinct lack of growth in that other-place. It’s become cyclical and stale, and I’m trying my best to become someone more and better.

Hence, here.

I’ve stopped and started so much that I don’t know what to do except for jump in like I always have.

I’ve had a lot to ponder lately.

I hit 25 this year hard and fast. It’s caused a lot of introspection on my part. I’m not in my early twenties any more. I’m no longer a child. I’ve battled depression and anxiety in various measures since I was 14 with a few brief intermissions. I still experience wildly fluctuating feelings of insecurity–and I feel like a hypocrite, as part of my career is emotional support for teenagers. I feel inauthentic sometimes when I try my hardest to get them to see how precious and worthy of respect they are when I can’t do it for myself. But I haven’t given up.

I have trouble with follow-through. Closure. Endings.  I’m not in the habit of finishing much of anything…and that’s just one more thing I need to outgrow.

I have kept a journal since I was about six years old. Writing is my sanity. My job has kept me from doing much of that, but I’m starting to get back into it. I’m trying to be as persistent as my personality will allow and more. A friend of mine has been particularly encouraging because she knows how much it’s helped me in the past, but she’s also pushing for me to own my words. That’s hard for me to do. I’m in the habit of secrecy and taking on others’ secrets without divulging any of my own. I’ll just do what I can for now. No use in rushing.

So. This is it.