On Change and Acceptance: Fall 2017

Periods of great change have always been hard for me. After a relatively peaceful summer, which included a much-needed trip to Germany with my family, but was otherwise very quiet–a lot of working and reading and daydreaming about a future when I wouldn’t be a coffee shop barista–I’ve found myself plunged into the very future of my summer daydreams, and am extremely overwhelmed by it all.

Intuitively, I feel very good about the future. Good things are coming. Diving further into teaching feels right, and I’m so excited to grow further as a teacher. Yet, the present in wrought with a lot of anxiety and emotion, as times of change usually are for me. I don’t sleep as well during times of change, and I tire easier–a combination of the lack of sleep and the very fact that the physical symptoms of anxiety are exhausting AF. Yet, I’m impatient. Oh so impatient. I want to rush head first into things. I’m reminding myself again and again of how, if I want to keep my mental and physical health at all in check, I have to take change slower. How that’s not a bad thing. I’ve been spending a lot of time on my yoga mat, and I’ve been doing meditation excercises. I’ve been reading, and I’ve been reaching out to people who impact my life positively. I’ve been trying to bottle up less emotion (something I’m REAL good at). I’ve been talking through feelings with friends and writing, too.

I do feel the need to write more, which feels good. It feels natural. It feels healthy. It feels like me. I also feel the need to be more social, which I’m notoriously bad at (it’s so much easier to sit at home and be an anti-social introvert!), but also desperately need. While I felt rather content to be alone for much of the summer (which was beneficial in many ways in terms of building up more self-awareness and internal understanding) I’m discovering that a healthy, balanced Britta needs positive interactions with others as much as she needs time by herself to recharge.

I feel this incredible need to go out in the world. I love my online teaching job. I love the relationships I’ve developed with my regular students, and it blows my mind that I can positively impact a child’s life from across the world with a computer and internet connection. I’ve learned a lot from them, too. Yet, I find it strangely unsatisfying to work from home. It’s convenient. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s joyful. Yet, I get antsy when I spend too much time at home. As much as I love, crave, need my home time, I also love, crave, and need experiences out in the world. As an introvert with a natural inclination towards home, I’ve found working from home to be problematic in that sense. If I don’t make clear, viable plans to leave the house, I inevitably won’t. When I work from home, I’m constantly making clear, viable plans to get out, when in reality I’d rather have a job that already gets me out into the world so I can come back at the end of day to my warm, comfortable, cozy space.

Moving into my substitute role has been alienating. As a planner who has a natural inclination towards structured environments (because their safer), being a substitute is forcing me to become more flexible. When you’re substitute, you come when your called…and you might not know until an hour before your supposed to be there. Every school, classroom, student group is different. It’s exciting…but also scary and overwhelming. Can I do it? I absolutely believe so, and with a shift in focus and cognition, I will inevitably become more adaptable. I think most humans are capable of far more than they realize. Yet, it’s exhausting and overwhelming.

And there’s also the fear of being a good teacher, being an effective teacher, being a firm teacher that students will also like. I’ve absolutely got that down in my online ESL classrooms, but it’s a whole different ball game at brick and mortar schools. Or is it? Perhaps they’re not that different after all. Children are children, regardless of where they come from and what language they speak.

And so I have a lot going on right now. And I’m trying to be kinder to myself, to be more patient. Because not a whole lot is accomplished by anger and force. Big things take big time. For me, moving further into teaching and committing myself to it–that’s huge.

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Teacher Britta at home in The District
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12 Replies to “On Change and Acceptance: Fall 2017”

  1. I worked from home for almost 12 years and enjoyed it immensely. However, it was peppered with frequent travel. Now, I’m at a desk job, and I love going into work each day – most days! And you’re right, it makes coming home more special. I didn’t realize you were an online teacher, I missed that in my time away from here I guess. That’s great, it sounds like you’ve made great connections with your students.

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    1. Yes, I’ve been teaching students in China English online since February. I absolutely love it, but as I stated in my post, I end up feeling very stifled working from home. I don’t think I’d mind working from home so much if I traveled frequently for work. In fact, I’d probably prefer that, because traveling is exhausting. That said, I’m excited about subbing more. It’ll be hard, but I know I’ll learn a lot.

      I love how there’s a few of us “oldies” (that’s Lucile’s term, not mine) are becoming more active on WP again. I’ve taken time away, as well, but it’s nice to be back. Other platforms are great to keep in touch, but I appreciate how WP allows to get to know others more in depth.

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      1. Hey Britta. That’s fabulous. Yes working from him can be quite challenging. It’s very important to make coffee dates with people. Or even work from a coffee shop (or somewhere else maybe since that’s your other job!) occasionally to break things up. It helps to get dressed for work as well, even if you aren’t leaving the house, just so you feel different than the usual “at home” feeling. Don’t forget to turn off at home time!
        I’m excited about the oldies too 😁😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Britta, you achieve so much, even when feeling like that. I know of many people who just paralise. You’re amazing! I guess it takes time to adapt to any change of environment. Perhaps if you create some routine outside as well, like walking or meditating in the park, you would feel better.

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    1. I do have some routine–for instance, on Mondays I do my online teaching job in the morning and tutor an elementary school student in the afternoon. There are other parts of my life that I’ve been able to add routine to, too. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. I had an exhausting day of substituting for Grade 4 students (some of them were not well behaved AT ALL!), so your encouragement is so appreciated!

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  3. I’ve always found that it takes about six months in a new role for it to start to feel more comfortable and routine. So give yourself lots of love as you take on those fourth graders; I was a devil to my substitute teachers at that age so you have my sympathy. Lucky for you, you have your well behaved and enthusiastic ESL students to offset the challenge of fourth graders. Love from Bangkok!

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    1. Thanks, always, for your kind words, Lisa! Some days subbing have been really rough, but the instances where I see that I’ve gotten through to a child make those stressful moments so worth it! Ah, whereabouts are you staying in BKK?!? Send my love to Thailand! I’m reading about Thailand with the student I tutor in reading…it’s been so fun to introduce him to the country and culture!

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      1. Gosh, those moments where you see you’ve had positive impact on a student must be awesome!

        We are staying in the Sukhumvit area near Bumrungrad Hospital. My Mom had a fall while traveling Thailand and required partial hip replacement surgery here. She is on the mend and scheduled to fly home Tuesday.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope they’ve been as positive for them as they’ve been for me!

        Ah, I know exactly where you are. Very near the BTS, which I spent a lot of time riding in Bangkok. 🙂 Oh my goodness, I hope your mom is recovering alright. I always felt so overwhelmed receiving medical care in Thailand, because of the language barrier combined with a different medical system than what I was used to in the US. I’m sure it makes a difference to have family there, though! Enjoy the time you have with her. How special that you are able to spend time traveling together!

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