Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The flip of a coin
I have been sitting at home this weekend, thinking about the past week, or even the past few months and morale at my day job. We have had a very tumultuous year, not in the 2012 sense, but from last January through this past week. It seems as if a piece of joy, of excitement, has vanished. It all began with a very untimely -well, I wont say lay off, because, technically it wasn't.
I should interject here by telling you that I am a teacher. That does not quite cover it, I am a middle school teacher. That fact alone, the mere mention of the words middle school tend to send adults in to tremors of fear when they consider the ages that I work with. I fully believe that even the elite Special Forces men and women would turn their backs on my sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, thinking they are no match for the hormones and the drama. Not everyone is suited for this group, but I have believed for the past six years that I am. I connect with them. I am "Other Mom" five days a week. I tell them I love them, and mean it. I let them know when I tolerated them that day, and mean it, but always letting them hear from someone that they are loved. And appreciated. And treasured, just for being themselves.
But I am finding myself at a crossroad now, uncertain of the choice that I need to make. Do I throw up roadblocks on the road in front of me? It's the road i have been on for the past six years. My first class of middle schoolers are graduating high school this year. It is what I have known to do for a while now. Am I trying to hold on too tightly, choking and hurting myself by staying in this place? Right now, in this moment, it feels like "There's no joy in Mudville, tonight."
Do I take a sharp turn? Do I close the cover on this and open a new book? Do I abandon these kids who have come to mean so much to me as I watch them grow, their kid brothers and sisters? All because that flame that I once carried is being snuffed out, deprived of oxygen needed to burn brightly? The fears and doubts sneak up on me now. What if I can't? What if I fail my family with this choice? What if I fail me? What then?
My last option is not in closing the book, putting it away. It is merely in turning the page, the end of the chapter, and an opportunity to write my own story now. I would stay where I once found so much pleasure, where I would start every morning singing to my co-workers, my friends, my family, "Good Morning" from the Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds movie, Singin' In The Rain. With this, I can still hold onto the place where I found my niche, but I can take it to a new stage, literally. A new theater arts class that would be mine to make, to design. Do I have faith that there is enough of a spark left to rekindle the love I once had for this job? Do I loosen my grasp? Do I pick up the pen, okay, do I hit the keyboard, and start writing my next chapter?
I know this may sound trivial to you, but words, as any middle schooler can tell you, are powerful. Maybe I just needed to write it all out? I do not know. But I do know this, You will be among the first to know how the coin lands.
Please, let me know what you think, sometimes the best advice comes from the outside. Share any thoughts, or tough choices that you have made, or are facing. Odds are, you are not alone. Maybe, together, whether it be heads or tails, we end up winning.