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.