I have done it again. Every summer it happens. I tell myself: “This time, you’re leaving for good.” And every Fall I find myself once more back in front of the classroom.
This is my first post and I have contemplated for a while of what I should begin writing about.
Should this post be goal-oriented? Should I say what my blog will be about? Should it off the bat bring a wave of pessimism just to show the reader how cynical and manic I can be? I like this one. But I have decided that this a new year and gradually I will become a new me.
So what is it like teaching with anxiety and depression. Well, let’s see how my Summer usually starts:
Day one: I wake up like those Folgers commercial— The one where vapor from the coffee is visible and alive and you suddenly see two hands hugging a cream-colored mug. That’s the one. I soon find a pen and paper and jot down a list.
Here are the usual goals:
- I’ll bond with my dog
- I’ll work out and finally get my body tight and ripped
- I’ll watch a lot of Criterion films, that way I can sound really artsy and intellectual around my co-workers
- I’ll join some writing workshops and finally have a breakthrough in my writing. Hell, I may even be nominated for a Pulitzer by August.
- I’ll have a picnic. You know the kind: red and white checkered blanket, with a cluster of red grapes (I also see a baguette), bottle of red wine even though I hate it
- I’ll write a play, script for a tv show, or comic book.
- I’ll swim with short-shorts.
But the most important bullet to my list of “Be fucking awesome this Summer” is:
- FIND A NEW JOB!
That’s what teaching with anxiety does. You look for an exit. Even though you enjoy your job and you’re praised from your administration—you have an overwhelming desire to leave.
I sometimes think of myself as two different people when I’m teaching. Looking back at my four years of teaching, I see a nobody who everyone thinks of as a somebody (I’m playing on Emily Dickinson’s poem).
He is stronger. He is confident. He is a motivator. He trips on their chairs and plays it off. He makes young adults believe in themselves. He tells them that speaking two languages makes them worth two people (I stole this from Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams but I’ll use this clever line like I wrote it). He tells them that life is worth living. He sarcastically insults them and calls it character building. Most importantly, he smiles and wears a mask of optimism to make them believe in the joys of life.
He is not me when I leave the school building.
I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I could be him outside of my classroom. Would people want to get to know me? Would I finally be content with life? Would I finally write my novel? Would I finally get to my list?
I imagine that if I was permanently him, I would cross out FIND A NEW JOB and put I LOVE MY JOB.
So that’s what my blog will be I guess.
The HOW to,
The WHAT I did,
The HOW I FEEL,
the classic teaching post:
These FUCKING KIDS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY because.
I have become that teacher. Join me on my voyage.