For so long, I pushed back and resisted it. For so long, I dismissed the idea outright. Going back – I wouldn’t even countenance consideration of it.
Wasn’t going back an admittance of failure?
Wasn’t going back stepping back?
I’d been there already – done what I wanted to do in teaching – hadn’t I?
Then eventually I just said, stuff it and let go.
I reached out, and a door opened.
Little did I know though how pivotal this moment would be.
Little did I know that this moment would be key to recalibrating my ideas about myself and my future.
And so after 6 years away, I packed my bag and jumped on the train back to the classroom.
All that train journey, my mind frantically raced, a cacophony of panic, wonderings, and worst-case scenarios.
What if I’ve lost it?
What if I don’t cut it any-more?
What if I don’t know how to teach any-more?
What if I can’t connect any-more?
And as my colleague opened up the classroom door – I could feel that breath within me – held ever so tightly.
Get everything ready Greg (that’ll keep your mind occupied and calm you.)
I was in ultra hyper-organization mode, getting everything ready for every ‘what if’ moment I could imagine – when someone knocked on that door.
You new teacher?
Then another, and another……
Something clicked in that moment. I was home.
Sitting in a circle – getting to know each other
The smiles, the laughter, the open-ness –
There was something so familiar and affirming in this moment.
Familiarity – it’s something that I’d generally reject as status quo – as been there done that.
But this was different. It wasn’t that same-old, same-old familiarity I’d run from.
There was something else going on here.
It dawned on me much later…
Yes I was going back BUT I wasn’t going back as 100% same-old Greg that left the classroom 6 years earlier.
Sure there were elements of old me, those skills and strategies, honed over many years of teaching.
BUT I was much changed.
I could not help but be changed by my desire to keep extending and challenging my comfort zone. Pushing The Edges – wherever I was working.
And that enabled me to see possibilities I hadn’t imagined before – in the classroom – with a whole new set of skills at my disposal.
Yes I was going back and coming home but this was qualitatively different.
And it felt SO SO good.
Welcome back, Greg! Kids need you and as a follower from afar I know we also need you here in these online spaces. This feels like a win-win! Keep sharing and let us know how it’s working out for you. You have so much to offer on so many levels and the growth you’ve undertaken in six years outside of the school house will always benefit many more than the children you have in front of you, thanks to the tremendous outreach and community spirit you have fostered in other spaces. Best wishes for an extraordinary return to the classroom!
Sherri, I can’t begin to tell you how much your words & support mean to me. I can’t believe the nerves and doubts I’ve experienced – even as I venture in on a part-time basis. And yet even in my small times back – it’s still all there skill-wise – only now I have so many more ideas, skills and experience to bring with me. The online connection with educators in this regard has been especially influential. As I said in a Professional Development session I ran today – this workshop wouldn’t have happened without my online teaching friends. Still a few more hurdles now to navigate as I endeavour to gain ongoing teaching work but hey I’m definitely up for this challenge. Thank you Sherri.