Standing in the doorway of his classroom, it took every ounce of my being not to lunge across his desk and knock some sense into him. “How dare he question my motives,” I thought at the time, “and how dare he say that I won’t make it to tenure!” A burn out.. he thought I was going to be a burn out.
I hate to admit that he was right.. to some extent. My once antagonist and now dear friend saw something before I had and, though his delivery sucked (and I mean sucked), tried to warn me. He saw my frustrations and shared his concerns last year that I wouldn’t be completely satisfied at the rate I was going. Much to my own surprise, the same feelings arose as I passed through September and much of October.
I don’t want to say that teaching isn’t for me, because much of my existence thrives off of the opportunities to learn from others and pass that knowledge on. What I will say is that I’m unsatisfied (I wish I felt as vindicated as I had hoped to feel when writing that). From the politics of the year to the classroom management plan from hell, this has become something I never wanted it to be: resentful. I often resent my job, and that kills me admit. At the same time, I know that my calling – my true calling – is located within the school setting. My students have confirmed that for me. Their utmost honesty towards me is astounding. In cold write essays, students shared their experiences of loss and heartbreak, disappointment and frustration. I’ve learned about bullies from the past and present, terminally ill siblings, alcoholic fathers, “unfit” living situations, fight threats, and the cafeteria drama. I’ve always prefaced with my students that what is shared can stay with me, but more times than not, I use an essay as a referral to the makeshift guidance counselor.
Now, I’m not a religious soul by any means, but I do believe that this is a sign for the direction of which I’m meant to go. I know in my heart that I’m meant to help people, and so far this year, with the number of confessions, break downs, and guiding moments, I know well enough that I am meant to be a counselor. I have an incredible level of admiration for the English language and for teaching it, but life, and this year in particular, is guiding me in such a way that I am finding it hard to ignore the proverbial roadmap in front of me while I grade my papers.
Teaching language arts has grammatically altered my disposition and has punctuated my goals in helping me to determine where my soul is taking me.