February 16, 2010

It's one of those days...

... in which I entertain wild fantasies about a job that does not in any way involve children.

I don't like children today.

Back in the days of the ELL department at MES, Vickie and I used to go out for a venting session in the parking lot after work. It was nice because we could talk about it and be done with it and for me at least it was a very effective method of leaving work at work, and then going home and thinking about other stuff. And we would always start these sessions with the question, "So, do you like children today?"

I most emphatically do not like children today, thanks for asking. Today was one of those days that makes me question why the heck I work in education. At least 14 of the children I adore on an individual basis, but put all 18 of them together and I don't like children. This is why I could never be a classroom teacher in a regular school. Being in a room with the same 30 children for a year trying to make them learn stuff that by and large they don't care about would make me homicidal, suicidal, or both.

And even on days like today, I still know why God put me where I'm at. Just since September, in the course of working with these kids and trying to help them vocalize their turbulent preschooler emotions (vocalize rather than haul off and smack someone) I myself have learned a lot about coping with my own emotions. I tend to be very reserved emotionally - someone very close to me told me shortly after my husband left me that I did not have the "luxury" of crying because it made me useless, and it left a lasting impression on me - and I tend to ignore my own emotions and shove them out of the way rather than processing them and dealing with them, and it isn't healthy. In the process of helping them recognize and label their feelings, I've learned to recognize and label my own. While teaching them that their emotions are okay and valid, I've learned that my own are okay and valid as well and I'm even beginning to recognize my breaking point before I reach it, which is a huge step for me. Just today (and Nancy probably didn't realize how significant this was), the kids were being awful, my stress levels were rapidly increasing, and it was getting harder and harder to not scream at the children, and finally I told Nancy, "I'm going to step outside for a few minutes before I snap." I went and sat on the front steps away from the kids in the sun for a few minutes, took some deep breaths, and I went back inside a few minutes later when I felt better. Like I said, Nancy probably didn't think a whole lot of it but for me that's a pretty big thing to recognize, vocalize and then deal with my own emotions.

I told Nancy when I met her that I'm pretty much just an overgrown four year old. But it seems maybe I'm progressing slightly.

So even though I know why I'm in the place I'm in now, there's still the question of "what next?" I don't see me working in my current capacity forever... especially not at only 22 hours a week. I was just telling Nancy today I thought it would be nice to at some point have one job that paid me enough that I didn't need to have three jobs. I don't know where I go from here, but it is abundantly clear to me that God has the plan and he knows what he's doing... I'm just along for the ride.

Song o' the Day: "Check My Brain" by Alice in Chains. Awesome song. Go look it up.

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