With a Capital F, Part 2

This is part 2 of a longer post. You can read part 1 here.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the facebook posts of my colleagues from my previous teaching experience going back. Some of them are ones I knew, some I never actually met, or met briefly in passing.

They’re going back, making plans for meeting up with other colleagues, looking forward to a summer in the Italian sunshine. I’ve seen what they write, how much they’ve missed it, how they can’t wait to go back.

I haven’t missed it until today. Overall, my experience was a positive one. But in life, you have experiences you want to repeat, and experiences that experiencing once was enough. This one fell into the latter category. Part of its appeal was having no idea what I was getting into. I had a beautiful, miserably hot, exciting, boring, unique summer. I met wonderful people and did wonderful things. But I was ecstatic to get on a plane and leave it behind me.

Until today. Today I was reading Laura’s blog. Laura was one of the group that trained me and a few hundred of my peers for the work we did. By the end of the summer, nearly three months after that orientation, I was amazed and flattered that she had the slightest inkling who I was.

Today I ran across a post from a few years ago, about one of her weeks of work, and the people she worked with then. Out of nowhere, the slanted evening sun of summer and the taste of Aperol and prosecco (also known as spritz) swept over me.

I wanted to go back. I want to go back.

I got to the end of my summer, and I was exhausted. Exhausted like I am now. Which isn’t so much of a surprise, because I’ve done about the same number of weeks of teaching now that I did over the course of that summer. And I was beat. I was ready to run home to my family and friends who are ecstatic to see me after a few months’ absence.

Right now, I am also ready to go home. The difference is that after a couple of months, I have ten left to go before my work agreement finishes. But I’m getting past the point where I think I’m doing my students any favours.

I’m failing at teaching, and I don’t know whether it’s because I’m just not cut out for this, or because I’m so exhausted, or because I haven’t found my style yet.

I’d like to say that unless I get my groove back (or find one in the first place) I will go home, or somewhere else, in any event. In a sense, contract obligations be damned, it would be the right thing to do. A gaggle of kindergarteners deserve to have a teacher who has the energy to teach them.

No kid wants to deal with a high-strung, bellowing, frazzle-nerved wreck of a teacher, and that’s what I’m becoming. No kid deserves to have to deal with that teacher for the rest of a year.

At the same time, the economic incentives for me to stay put and stick it out are high. And with every day that passes, the relative incentive for sticking it out versus cutting out immediately gets higher.

I want to say that I’ll do the noble thing, economic incentives be damned, and get out if I know I’m not being a good teacher, and won’t be.

I don’t know if that’s how the reality will play out.

This is just the most recent reason why I really hope that it doesn’t come to that decision, and that things do get better.


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