This week has been a difficult one. I am back at the school I have been at since 2008 but I have been relieving for 2 years in a non-school based position. Everyone warned me that going back would be hard. I was prepared but this week things caught up with me.
Everything is so familiar but nothing is the same. The familiar lulled me into a false sense of security. A small, burning ember of impotency has been glowing, hidden below the surface since I returned to school. A small gust of inefficacy and the embers were well alight.
I am a head teacher and have a wonderful faculty to lead they are the familiar and they are family. Accepting and supportive of each other in that dysfunctional camaraderie borne from shared battles, extreme stress and human suffering (teaching). However, the school has changed and I have come to the realisation that I do not know where I fit in it anymore. I know the fine detail of my classroom and faculty but I no longer understand the big picture of the school.
I had prepared myself to feel this way. I had been warned. I believed I would not let it phase me. But this week has been hard work personally. There was a funeral for a woman my age whose anxieties and demons were so overwhelming that she could see no way out other than ending her own life. There is the worsening of my husband’s degenerative illness. Add a bit of insomnia and a lot of pain from a twisted shoulder and sore neck with one or two setbacks at work and in my classroom and I was questioning my decision to not take the non-school based position for three more years.
Then it was time for Friday last period. The last opportunity for learning in the week and my year 8 science class seeing it as anything else. A sense of dread had descended over me.
I have introduced mindfulness meditation with all my classes to begin and end the week. Year 8 came in after lunch. It was hot, they were bothered and I was sad and deflated.
“It’s Friday, time for a meditation.”
They cheered and I could have cried.
In that moment I knew that I have to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future and just be in the present. I acknowledged my thoughts and fears and watched them float by like clouds in the sky. Thank you Smiling Minds. Thank you Year 8.
There is no going back, there is only now and forward from here.