This week I surrendered to teaching. With my big observation next week, report cards almost due, and the talent show around the corner, this week was packed. Then there was that two hour non-profit interview about my residency experience, a few more parent phone calls, and all my regular responsibilities, like actually planning, teaching, organizing, making copies.
Thursday morning I awoke from a dream where I was presenting my lesson for my observation to an auditorium full of 500 squirmy children, including a rowdy bunch of high-schoolers who entered and exited in the middle of everything. Oddly, I made it through the entire lesson, step by step, and opened my eyes with the feeling that if I could teach under those conditions, then I’d be fine in real life with the dreaded rubric.
As if it weren’t enough that I couldn’t escape my job while sleeping, Thursday turned out to be all around intense. Good old Maniac Magee had one of his most challenging days yet, (which always means ten other children also have urgent needs arise simultaneously). To make everything more fun, at the very peek of all the excitement, a herd of observers, possible donors as I later found out, headed straight for my door. Fortunately I was able to mouth the words, “We’re kind of in the middle of an emergency,” to my principal before they descended on my classroom.
Needless to say, I have been thinking a lot about what makes my job stressful and why sometimes I am able to manage it better than others. In the last seven days I have been told by three separate people that I am a saint. I assure all interested parties that I am not. But, I would really like to be. I’d like to always be calm, collected, loving no matter what is happening around me. Sometimes I am closer to this than others.
This week I accepted teaching as my entire life. I surrendered. I admit, I put up a fight on Tuesday, and felt miserable for it, but by Wednesday afternoon I accepted that things like afterwork yoga in an actual studio just weren’t going to happen. And, once I stopped fighting it, everything felt a lot better, minus a few minutes yesterday when I thought my head might explode because everyone needed my attention and I just wanted to curse.
See, definitely not a saint.
Which brings me to now, Friday night. I left work later than usual, went to a meeting, still have work to do this weekend, but I feel at peace. I’ve surrendered. If only I could always surrender. I almost wish I did not have such a deep-rooted desire to write books. If I could just teach, or at least just teach during the year and ignore book writing until my breaks, I think I could be a more relaxed human being… Half the reason I fight 11 hour days at school is because I am so anxious to get home and work on my writing. My nagging need to produce words won’t go away.
This all leads me to you, kind reader. I must know. Do you surrender to one passion at a time or chase everything at once?
Today, a student gave me the most sincere letter of my teaching career, which will now live proudly on my home desk with the school bus, a humorous gift with me at the wheel. My heart is in it. So, why do I also need to be a published writer?