Thursday, July 31, 2014

Faith in the midst of anxiety

With the new school year starting up next week, I am definitely starting to get the jitters, what with a brand new school and a brand new community awaiting me. I have no problem going through change and new experiences, but this particular change of scenery makes me nervous.

In particular, the new parents make me nervous.

The doctors, the judges, the lawyers, the fellow educators, the hands-on moms. With a shift in environment and demographic comes very different personalities and expectations. The standards of these parents are, obviously, quite high. Don't get me wrong--it's a great thing, because I have pretty high standards for my students as well. It's the expectation setting and situations that call for debate and problem solving that give me jelly legs.

It is also much more complicated when you're new to town (and by new, I mean that I've lived here for six years), given this particular demographic that is very close-knit and quite homogeneous. It's a small town. It's a small, rural community of families and neighbors who go to the same doctors and borrow sugar from each other all the time. As far as they know, I am an outsider. And this outsider has just been given the responsibility of taking care of their child 7 hours a day, 5 days a week... more if they send them to after school programs.

With this particular community, I always find the need to make an extra effort each day to look presentable, professional, and elegant enough for these doctors, lawyers, and their wives.

I get depressed having this point-of-view sometimes.

I know that I am probably overreacting. It's my tendency, once again, to stress myself out in order to push myself to succeed. But am I supposed to live my life in the classroom trying to please the parents who send their kids to my care? No. That's not my job and I know that. My job is to support their children and help them become successful in school and in life. That's really the best I can do. I won't be able to please every single parent that comes for parent teacher conference, and that's okay. As long as their child learns something valuable in my classroom, as long as I am able to instill in them what it means to be a good human being, then I've succeeded. I've done my job.

What does this have to do with my own spirituality? It's all about being in the right frame of mind when you encounter anxieties that are similar. It's about staying true to your principles. It's about having faith that God will not give you a problem that you can't handle. So here's to a new school year and all the new experiences that come with it!

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