There comes a time, a few years in, when you start to realise. What you want to happen isn’t going to happen. You’ve given it a good enough go. You tried, and for whatever reason – it doesn’t matter so much – you couldn’t quite get there.
Four years ago, I first stepped into a classroom with a view to becoming a teacher. I really, really wanted to do it. I believed I could do it. I felt I could learn.
It hasn’t worked out. For a variety of reasons – at first, I simply wasn’t good enough – I haven’t been able to secure a full time job beyond a disastrous and traumatic few months of miserable, soul-breaking pain at a failing school. Every night, ten kilos of books to lug downstairs and take home and mark. Every weekend, the same mass of planning. Every term, the same vicious assessments, observations and pupil progress beatings. Ask for help with a child who’s hurting? “We’re not social workers, you know.” Never before have I felt such spite, unpleasantness and vindictive bullying from adult colleagues. Never again do I want to go through it. Blame someone else. Do it yourselves. I’m well out of it.
I’ve written before about what a privilege it is to teach, and it is. It’s wonderful to be able to make a whisper of difference to tiny people who trust you with their safety and education. When it goes well, it’s amazing. But it doesn’t go well often enough. It didn’t go well often enough.
When I started, I used to get terrible feedback. Now I get really good feedback, but still no job. “it was a really creative lesson… But we don’t need a creative teacher. We need someone who’ll do what we say.” And you begin to wonder if being a bit older might have something to do with it. The whole point of education is that people can change, and grow – yet you get looked down at if you want to change or grow, yourself. But so what? What does it matter about the how and the why? There is only what is.
You have to know when to give up. When to let go. When you’re past the point where it’s still possible to cling to those dreams you had. You have to look wider. See a bigger view, a bigger picture, if you can. So this wasn’t to be, but you tried. At least I tried. That’s all you can ever ask. You don’t know if you don’t try.
Not drowning anymore, just waving.