“…talking about truth and love; you can wield your profession, your craft in a way that hurts people, because you’re so good. And so, when someone can present it in a way that is inviting people into their joy, that’s when the most beautiful things are formed.” – Josh Garrels.
It’s been six weeks. I moved. I am teaching grade 6. I am tired. And I just realized that Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I haven’t caught my breath since… my last blog post? I’ve been thinking about all those things that make life busy and sometimes I think that we actually fill time more than necessary – maybe to feel valuable, as though productivity means we’re doing something right and extraordinary. I doubt the truth of that, even though my intent to do so is probably more accurate than I’ve admitted until now.
Before I get ahead of myself —
I moved to Calgary in August, taking a job at a school where one hundred percent of the students (500+) have some type of learning exceptionality (the current label for learning differences or disabilities). Whether it be ADHD or a varying amount of anxiety or sitting on the Autism spectrum or simply underserved by the public or generalized private school systems, my new school serves to take care of the children who haven’t really been given a chance. Or ran out of their teacher-given-‘chances’ at their last schools and are simply trying to find a way to succeed. Either way – my mind is blown constantly by all that I am learning and all I have yet to learn. Not only are the kids exceptional, but my colleagues and administration all seem to be some of the best as well. As you can imagine, my students (16 in my grade 6 class!) are unique and demand a different type of grace and accommodation from teachers, and as such, the accountability of teachers at this school is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It has to be. It should be like that everywhere else. Anyway. The responsibility is beyond what I ever considered when I became a teacher.
I am teaching my core subjects (language arts and social studies) and I have a partner teacher who is in the room at all times; he teaches our other academic courses. Yes, two teachers and 16 students. I thought it was overkill too but as we’re moving into week four, and the initial overwhelming ‘someone hanging over me’ feeling has dissipated, I like having the comfort of someone to manage the kids while I teach, and alternatively doing the same for him. [I only wish my partner was Lexie instead… ;)]. It’ll be a challenge, this year, but one that I am officially looking forward to; it took a few weeks but it’s not supposed to be perfect or easy to start, is it? I am finding my way, and that’s not always the worse thing.
It’s unnatural, I think, to be comfortable. Maybe it’s just who I am. Or maybe it’s the way of the world or God’s intention for us but I am starting to trust that a lack of comfort simply means being challenged and a restless spirit might just keep me motivated to continue this quest to “wield my profession, my craft in a way that hurts people because” I can do it well…but more than that, remember why I am doing it and that it’s not really for me, at all. I like being a teacher, I am pretty good at it too, but it’s not really about me, either.
Vibrant; vigorous, energetic, vital. Strong. Vivid. I’m trying to commit to that being my adjective for this year. No incredible words or commitments or changes or anything, but simply a desire to be vibrant – to expect vibrance, to trust in vitality and strength of the beauty of the greyest of days and moments where the newness and challenges darken my motivation, or desire to continue – like anything, I am hoping that the vibrancy of these months to come dims all the hesitancy or concerns I have starting a new job, especially because no part of this particular job is going to be easy. Being in this place, in this moment, and of being so good it hurts people.
Not that that is what I am going for, I just think Josh Garrels is wise and I like what he said. And I think it’s important that I am here, as if I should be. And it’s going to be good. Real good.
Oh, and I’m back. This little spot on the internet is going to be vibrant, too. More new posts to come.