Saturday, September 26, 2015

Meet Me At The Crossroad

Image from Pinterest

What do you do when all you’ve ever believed and thought to be true about your journey in life appears to be a lie, the wrong path and something you so desperately want to walk away from even though you can’t? What do you do when heart is on life support because others have trampled, smashed and slammed down the optimism you once had and what’s left is doubt, worry and frustration. That’s how I feel about teaching. For years and years, I would tell myself I was built for this career. That I’d outlast most of the powerful people because eventually they’d make enough money to live comfy, retire and stop pretending to care about black kids in failing schools. I longed for the day when Superman would really show up and help us (educators) regain respect, control of our classrooms and jump start our hearts. 

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For some this may have happened. For me, it has been a constant battle to believe that I matter and that what I do matters. I’ve waited for someone else to see that we can teach kids to pass standardized state test in packs but unless they qualify for college or a career, these same kids will still end up on the corner, working meager jobs or killed at the hands of each other and police. There is a direct correlation and I’m not going to argue the never ending school to prison pipeline. It really does exists!  I’m just sharing that I’m a crossroad with nowhere to go. No other possible job leads. I’m not financially fit where I can afford to take a substantial leave. Hell, I’m a teacher and I’ve never seen performance pay. I’m not even sure where to begin to reinvent myself.

I know there’s other teachers or other careers who have moved on when the joy of showing up to work had completely diminished. I know some of you reading this may have at some point in life been courageous enough to throw caution to the wind and jump into new territory but I’m terrified. That’ll I fail at what I’d really like to do. What I know I can do. That I can’t make a generous income serving our youth. Yes, many others are doing it. I’ve read all the memes that tell me if you are doing what you love it won’t be work. How I’d wake up each morning with a spring in my step ready to take on the day. Teaching takes a great deal of work. I’ve wrote about this many times here. But this time is different. I can’t shake the funk. The second guessing myself that I’ve stayed too long. The only time I feel like myself is when I’m actually teaching what isn’t being dictated to reflect what my neighbor 3 doors down is doing at the same minute, hour, second with the same materials with no deviation from the plan or boom I got you. Really (gives a Phadrea face)?! 

Image from Pinterest
For as long as I can remember teaching was my thing. I played school as my childhood game of choice even though my cousins and siblings wanted to stuff me behind the couch and do something else. I started teaching little babies from the atechism in church when I was just a few years younger than them. I’ve had college trained Pastors tell me I have a gift to make things current and relatable to the children. I even had a Principal write it on my evaluation. So part of what I’m feeling is me, losing my touch for so many reasons.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not
crushed; perplexed, but not in despair persecuted,
but not abandoned; struck down,
but not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

And so I find myself after 11 years back in my #WarRoom seeking direction. Releasing my cares and worries to the One who planned my life and holds the outcome in his hands. I’m waiting to hear what’s next. I really do hope there’s a next and soon. Cause all I want do is love on kids and teach them what I can so they in turn can become critical thinkers to survive in a world that doesn’t value teachers or them. What good is success on a test if you can’t succeed in life? We have still missed it with our educational system and my tiny voice has been drowned out by the noise of this is just the way it is. Am I really suppose to accept that? I often times envy those who are indifferent. I wish my heart wasn’t invested. Not really.

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