A Lesson I’ve Learned about Lessons I’m Learning

I have struggled to come to terms with how miserable my job can make me. I always tell myself, “I’ve done this before,” and then am amazed at how bad a really bad day can be. That is how I felt my entire first year. I would come home and just could not shake the residual dread and anger that I carried with me.

My sister told me I had to change my mindset. And I tried! I really tried. It’s one of those things that doesn’t just happen when you want it to. You can’t just tell yourself to be happy about it and then suddenly you are. It is a gradual process that must be attended to.

This year is different, and while it has been just fine so far, a new revelation is making it better and better.  I kept thinking, what makes this different from my other teaching experiences? Why is this so much more challenging than my experience in Indianapolis or the Navajo Nation? How were those experiences alike in a way that this experience is different? In my head I made a venn diagram of sorts: the socioeconomic environments in my prior teaching experiences were vastly different from one another, but between the two they covered the disparities facing my current community.

What I realized was that at my first two experiences, I went into them knowing that:

  1. They were temporary
  2. I was there as a learner

Boom. What I am doing right now is not forever. A few years is not forever. This is temporary (and you can be invested in something temporary). And goddamnit, if I don’t learn more every day at this school than I have learned in my years at college. These kids have taught me life lessons that my own life otherwise never would have. So, instead of thinking, “I am a teacher and employee. I am stuck here.” I am reminding myself that “I am a learner, and this is temporary so I need to make the most of it.”

How far I’ve come.

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