As I’ve written about in previous posts, I did a lot this summer. Or rather, I got a lot of stuff done. However, because of all of the things I had to handle, I haven’t really gotten to lesson planning for this school year. I have about three more weeks until school starts, so I’m making most of this time to get my act together. So, while searching for some classroom decorating ideas, I came across a fantastic YouTube channel belonging to a high school English teacher in Philly. He tells stories about teaching, does classroom tours, and gives motivation for the creative teacher in a restrictive environment (Although you’d think schools would promote creativity, most are actually way more concerned about numbers than student satisfaction and enjoyment). So, while watching one of his videos this morning about why he decided to become a teacher, Mr. Reynolds said something that really hit home:
“Don’t be afraid of any of the things that you are.”
Including my love for teaching, I think that this quote encapsulates a lot of what has been going on with me for a long while. My parents had pushed me to become a teacher for all of my life, so I wanted to reject that. And I wasn’t completely sure if I’d be good at it. Then, I survived my first year of teaching and realized that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. No teacher knows exactly what they’re doing, and if you have the inspiration and drive to keep your priorities in order (students’ happiness over everything else), you’re going to do great things for these kids. I recently was on a break from my long-term relationship and, although I don’t want to sit and spend my time diagnosing the past instead of living in the present, I was definitely afraid of being a support system for another person. For years, I was afraid of lying outside the gender binary and figuring out what that meant to me. I thought that a label meant I had to dress a certain way in order to be myself– even though I was even less comfortable than before. I really want to get to lesson planning, but I just wanted to take a little time to reflect and explain that I’m really not afraid anymore. Life is far simpler than I thought it should be, and I’m instead learning to find comfort in my fears, just enjoy, and make other people happy. It really doesn’t have to be much more than that. Here’s to feeling good and getting shit done.