I gave each of my teachers on the sixth grade team a small gift certificate and a bunch of stickers, and a little note of appreciation. We had a cake at our team meeting, and coffee. I have such low morale myself right now, but I really want to do every little thing I can to boost my teachers’ spirits. I got a lot of thanks back after that, and it’s funny because I feel so stuck in negativity and overwhelmedness, but I guess I’m doing all right from the point of view of others. Keeping our eyes on the big picture and the little victories feels so important. Showing appreciation feels so important. Meanwhile there’s a lot of complaining going on and it’s so inappropriate to be a part of it, but I get drawn in and then feel crappy because I should stay above it. The middle – not just a teacher, not an administrator – is a tough place to work. Every mistake I make feels magnified.
Everyone’s like, vacation will help. And it will. It will. But you can’t let the morale of your employees rest on the fact that every so often, just when the pressure builds up to that level, we get a week off. Can you?
And a colleague told me last night that he’d found my blog. I don’t know if he meant this one, though, there are old ones out there, too. He said he doesn’t read it. Blogging, especially when you’ve got a lot of big questions about life, is such a weird choice. Its easier to write honestly – in some ways – when you don’t really know most of your readers. Having my parents, a few friends, and now possibly others whom I work with reading this feels a little scary… but when I say that, I feel like Paris Hilton complaining about too much media attention: not convincing.
Still, it was an odd conversation, not helped, perhaps, by the fact that it was 4 hours into a night of celebrating the start of vacation in an Irish pub. And I walked away wondering how he found me, and what he takes away from it all, and why he googled me if that’s indeed what he did, or what the accident was if it was an accidental search result. And questioning, again, whether everything about keeping a blog might not be a mistake?
And also, while I’m questioning confessional mode, I may as well add to the confession: all my life, I’ve been this intense, hard-working, taking-things-too-seriously, a little wound up kind of person. But I’ve also been someone who tries new things, has wide-ranging interests, gets a lot done and done well, and so on. People who know me, know that, and the rest is just high school. And all my life, I’ve been told (mostly by people who DON’T know me well, to clarify for a commenter) that I need to relax, to take more risks, to go out there and have fun, to stop being so serious, etc., etc. There may be some truth to some of that, but I’m also really tired of hearing it from people who jump to conclusions about who I am and what I’m feeling, about how I should be, about what I need. And I thought, at 29, that maybe I was finally free of that kind of unasked-for psychoanalysis. So it’s upsetting to talk to someone I barely know and get grilled with such questions as, “What’s the last really crazy thing you did?” Like the solution to life’s stresses is just to get out there and do something crazy. Even if I knew what that meant. Because I go to art parties and rock shows and coach robotics and walk the whole length of Broadway and bake wedding cakes and keep a semi-secret blog and travel alone and laugh my head off with friends and stay out super late (once in a while) and party more than I should (once in a while) and date on-line and live in New York and teach in the South Bronx and give my phone number out to 12 year olds and every single one of those things counts as crazy in somebody’s book.
(Meanwhile, N. up and quit! Good luck to her!)