I had a similar experience this week… but this picture evoked another memory for me…
A year ago today my colleague found me, once again, in the office in tears. She made me call the doctors for an emergency appointment. The start of a pretty horrible journey… where I was questioning who I was, what I was doing, whether I could do any of it, or anything anymore. Tears…exhaustion…tears…questions…tears…scars…tears… a time of damage and yet a time of considerable change and growth.
This morning I stood up in front of the staff room sharing what has gone well in the department, it was genuine, and it was a joy. (At this point I would like to point out this a weekly occurrence for different departments)!
This time last year I was searching for the positives, and when I found one I made a big point of it, it became a status. The ledge that I could cling to, to avoid the drowning. Parents evening this year was great, but it didn’t feel like it stood out, because there’s a lot of good going on.
What has changed?
The situation: new room, new courses, new groups, new department, new faculty, new friends
My mindset: I have written about this before but this really has changed this year, it’s hard to explain how, but rather than focussing on the problem, I’m trying to work out the solution. I’m finding the joy, and remembering why I’m doing what I do.
There is also a lot that hasn’t changed…
My love for the classroom, through the all of all the stuff, I always come alive in the classroom. Creating a safe space, developing relationships, attempting to educate in all areas of life, trying to make a difference. So often, for me, the classroom has become my sanctuary, my refuge!
My faith… it’s been rocky and stormy at times but it has always been there. Through that faith not only did I have the hope that I would make it through to the other side but also I had a support network lifting me up when I couldn’t do it myself.
One of the things I mentioned when sharing about the department was how I had seen Problems and had drawn ideas from other people. It is so easy to try to do things in our own strength but teams are so much better.
What have I learned in a year?
I am not superwoman… I cannot do anything in my own strength…I am surrounded by amazing people…teaching is my vocation…there will be times when we are swamped by good and times when we are searching for it, it will aways be there. BUT we mustn’t get complacent when it is there in abundance, it can easily fade.
Most importantly… the importance of support. People who have your back, who will love, care, and be strict when needed.
We really aren’t meant to be an island. Who is your support team?