'Honey, I've been feeling quite troubled lately,' I whispered to my husband in the dark at half past twelve last night. I had to tell someone about it, and I knew my husband would give great advice and comfort in this situation.
I told him I wasn't feeling very happy with my career. And with that feeling came the guilt associated with being ungrateful for even having a career, in a country where decent jobs are pretty hard to come by. I knew I was better off than a lot of Americans, and way better off than most immigrants, but I can't seem to make myself feel satisfied and genuinely thankful for what I have. I had very conflicting emotions that night, and this was something I had been feeling for the past couple of months.
I have a lot to be thankful for. I left my previous work place because I knew that working closer to home would be less stressful for me. That, and, I get to work with my mom in the same grade level. My mom has always been the light at the end of a tunnel ever since I started teaching. Daily stress is always easier to deal with if your mom is there to comfort and guide you.
My new boss is great. He is like a doting grandpa and clearly trusts his teachers, which is, to me, of utmost importance as an educator and employee. He has seen me teach a class in the past, and he believes in my capabilities in the classroom, which he made clear during my job interview. It felt wonderful hearing something like that from someone whom parents, teachers, and the community trust very deeply.
'I am not completely happy with what I am doing', I told Chris. And I am trying each day to make myself like and enjoy what I do, but sometimes, you just can't force it anymore. You end up pretending and we all know trying to disguise emotions doesn't last very long; it will eventually catch up with your reality.
Chris thinks I'm working myself up too much, and quite unnecessarily too. I know I'm a control freak and a perfectionist, especially when it comes to my job, or really, any task given to me. The negativity always gets in the way--I worry too much and don't really give myself a lot of credit. I think it's because I spent fifteen years of my life in Catholic schools where expectations are always high and you always have to achieve a particular standard. If not, you're a failure. Stressing myself out is pretty much the only way I know how to cope and actually push myself to succeed.
But we all know we can't succeed all the time, and during those moments when I failed at something, they build up and I would carry them with me during my next task. It's an endless cycle.
But I think Chris was right--I should relax. I should embrace this year with all its triumphs and failures and allow myself to make mistakes without dwelling on them, but rather, learning from them. I think it's time that the teacher in me be open to being a student again.
I will let my new boss teach me what it means to lead. I will let my mom mentor me during my first year as a 3rd grade teacher. I will learn from my colleagues. I will learn from my students. I have to accept the fact that, although being a teacher comes with great responsibility, I still have to learn to let go.
I think my dissatisfaction and seeming unhappiness with my career doesn't really come from hating what I do for a living. I think it comes from being so uptight when it comes to finishing a task or fulfilling a responsibility. I should learn to relax and let go.