Posted by: Natalie | August 31, 2010

End of the Line. All Change.

The storm clouds cometh.

So. This is the last day of my year away from the world of work and my stomach is a churning mess of emotions. Initially I am really very sad because I have had the most fun this year. It has been productive in so many ways, beyond just writing. Yes, it would have been lovely to end the year with something totally finished that could be heading towards submission, but there are so many other things of greater importance that this year has achieved.

The most important being that I am no longer a wreck. I was in such a state by the time I finished at my previous school – bursting into tears several times a day really isn’t healthy and, believe it or not, is rather exhausting. I now know what it is like to not be permanently exhausted and how wonderful it is to have space in my head to read as much as I can (amongst other leisure pursuits). There were times, in that other life, when I thought I was really loosing my mind. I find the best description is of a heavy, dense cloud of noise constantly fogging around my head. It felt physical and I would find myself trying to bat it away at times. It would make me want to scream – actually want to scream out loud – but I would prevent myself for fear of looking insane. But the the frustration would build which again I couldn’t shift until I completely broke down or caused some unforgivable fight with my Boy. The cloud would clear for a few hours and then the cycle would begin again.

Just thinking about that time fills me with a little panic, what if going back into education now will undo everything positive I have built this year? The thing is, I know it is all going to be fine, I do, but that thought still lingers in the back of my mind. I was so unbelievably miserable and lonely (anyone who has worked in a very female heavy environment will undoubtedly have felt isolated if they didn’t adhere to the vast array of clique available) that I cannot, I will not put myself back in that place. Life is not long enough to waste it feeling insignificant.

It all sounds incredibly dramatic and I do feel utterly pathetic when I think how ‘stressed’ (I suppose is the term) I had become, because I actually love teaching. And I am good at it, being in the classroom with the kids was never the issue. I love being in the classroom and developing new and exciting ways of getting the little buggers to learn something, it really is quite fun – especially when you have a good rapport with them (my preference is for junior classes because they understand what sarcasm is!). Of course there were many contributing factors to my previous plight, but it was the foreboding sense of worthlessness that came with the job that I just could not stand. It added to my already broken self esteem and confidence to the point where I didn’t believe myself worthy of anything.

It is so hard to look back and think of myself like that, partly because I can’t believe it. So much has changed in just one short year – I laugh again! I have so much more confidence, I am so happy and relaxed,I have drive and aim and ambition. I shared my slight panic about unravelling with my Cie, and this was part of her response:

I don’t think you will have a problem. You have changed so much over the last year, grown so much in confidence and shown yourself your worth – I think being armed with that knowledge will create a shield against the crap that school generally throws at you. You’re gonna be fine! 🙂

It does help knowing that I have the most wonderful support waiting should I stumble a little. And I now have this wonderful blog so I can rant at all you lovely people too – lucky readers!

So, you can see why I worry a little – that’s on top of the ‘meeting new people’ thing, which always terrifies the begeezus out of me. But I have to focus on the good – there is absolutely no point dwelling on this anxiety or it will become self-fulfilled. I have to focus on the fact that this is a really good opportunity for me: it’s part time so I have four afternoons a week in which I can continue writing; I will only be teaching Numeracy on a one-to-one basis with four children a term; I will have my own undisturbed space in which to work and study (it comes with an ‘accreditation’); it is in a different school which may open up other interesting opportunities for the future; In short, I get all the bits about teaching that I love without the dark side looming. I am an incredibly lucky girl – so few people can boast such a sweet little job.

But I have to remember the most important lesson I have uncovered this year. As much as teaching is a vocation that can absorb your entire life – never let it. There is a world beyond the classroom that I now know exists – a happy, fun world full of non-education type things. There is room to be creative and there is room to breathe. I know what I want now, I want to write and feel the freedom that comes from pouring out an imagination. Teaching has to be seen as a necessary side line now, a means to an end (unless there is a complete overhaul of the English educational system, that works). This is not to say I won’t give it my all – anyone who knows me, knows that I only have one way of working,heart and soul – but it is not all. Its just not the path I want my life to stay on forever, it can’t be.

So, back to my last day. I shall be book ending the year with a haircut, probably some laminating of mats resources and a lovely meal out tonight with my boy. From here on in, I will still be blogging daily, but the timing of the posts may be a little erratic. Bare with me while I find my feet and work out the new routine.

For all fellow educators following this blog, good luck with the new class. I am sure there are many of you who can relate to the words written here – just don’t let the negative destroy something you love. I tried to let it and ended in an over-eating heap. Remember your worth, remember your life and remember to have fun. Teaching is of vast importance – but so are you.

Happy Tuesday all.

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Responses

  1. I can’t relate to being a teacher but I can relate to having a long period of time off work to recharge after being a blubbering mess.

    You will transition back into work and you will maintain the lessons you have learned this past year.

    I know it’s impossible to believe tonight as you face the first day back at work tomorrow but you won’t go back to where you were before because now that you know something different your body and soul won’t let you.

    • Oh Herby, thank you for that message – it has just made me cry a little, but I think that’s more to do with the pressure I am now putting on myself!

      Thank you for the encouragement, it is always really welcome and needed! It is strange, of all the things I have begun this year, it is this blog that has helped the most. Being able to ‘talk’ about all manner of things and having kind readers such as yourself respond. It has given me more confidence than I ever thought I had.

      Ironically, I was always confident in class (colleagues often described it as ‘cocky’) because I KNEW I was good at my job. Sadly, that same belief didn’t translate too well into personal life – until now. I am getting there, I just need to remind myself of that from time to time.

      Thank you again, hope you are well my dear,

      Natalie x

  2. I just found your blog the other day and can’t claim to know you at all. I do know though that you probably won’t end up where you once were.

    As Herby says: you know something different now and your body and soul won’t let you.

    About 8 years ago, I was on anti-depressants for a couple of months. Deciding to quit taking them and rely on my own strength was the most scary decision I had made up until then, but it turned out really well. I haven’t been back as I now know how and when to change direction.

    I think you do too!

    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your courage with me. I know everything will be absolutely fine, and you are quite right, its knowing that difference. I just panic at times even though the rational head is screaming at me to ‘pack it in’!! But I suspect we are all a little guilty of that!

      I am so pleased you found this blog, and I do hope you keep reading – would love to be able to let you know how it all turns out – smelling of roses with luck!

      Hope you are well, take care,

      Natalie x

  3. Natalie..
    Change is a good and necessary thing.
    But more than the changes that you will be at a new school… You are a NEW YOU! For, everything you have done and learned and experienced will be brought to your classroom, which will make you a better educator, bar none!!!

    This seems to be less of a good-bye letter to days passed, but more like a Decree that YOU’RE COMING… WATCH ME!!!

    Best of the world to you! ;-)))
    Denise

    • Heehee! Thanks Denise! I feel like I am pumped up now – ready and raring to go!

      Natalie x

  4. Many, many things – well done you for knowing things were wrong and doing productive things to change them, the best of luck in the new job, you’ve done something amazing with your year off….all these things whizzing through my head!

    Really though, I envy you and what you’ve achieved! You should remember to give yourself a pat on the back every time you feel a bit down – at work or wherever. Seriously xx

    • How lovely are you Carys?! Thank you for the encouragement, much appreciated. I’ll be Leamington way Friday night – not sure what our pans are, but would be lovely if we can meet up!

      Nat x

  5. All the best, Natalie as you start back at school. I’m two weeks into my 33rd year of primary school teaching so I know exactly how stressful it can be. Like you I’ve always said – and still do – it would never be the kids that drove me from the job.

    So focus on them and keep doing a great job – teaching needs people like you. But look after yourself to. Remember you have the right to set your own priorities, to ask for help, to make mistakes and to be treated with respect.

    Your new job sounds like an ideal compromise but as a wise old head teacher once said to me when I got stressed out, ‘remember it’s just a bloody job!’

    Hold onto all that you’ve learned in your year out and make time for your writing and for those you love.

    Be your own north star and all the best.

    Anne

    • Anne, that is such wonderful advice – thank you so much. I think you should go into moral boosting gift cards for teachers! I am sure it would be a lucrative business!!!

      Natalie x

  6. good luck with it. don’t lose too much sleep, okay!


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