It’s been a while. Quite a long while indeed, and a lot has happened since I last posted.
Have been wanting to write for a while now, just haven’t known exactly what to write, or how. In the past three months, I’ve undergone a short training for my new job teaching at a Waldorf school; started teaching in June; moved lodging to the area an hour outside of the city; and have been teaching a motley crew of twelve-year-olds for the past month and a half.
It may not seem like a lot – I mean I have lived across the globe on my own for years away from family after all – but for some reason it feels big. Bigger. As if a lot more were on the line. To be honest, while living away from home in the past, I feel as though I lived half awake. As though I just went through the motions of adult life: working on the weekdays, living or resting on the weekends, without dedicating enough time to consider what it was I truly wanted to be doing.
My new work is – well, it’s a lot of things. It’s a challenge, that’s for sure. Coming into teaching middle school with no past experience teaching in any school. Even more than that, coming in with no Waldorf background and having to learn the Waldorf philosophy and teaching pedagogy as I go.
Apart from the technical aspects of the job, I feel under-versed in its emotional demands. Having to command the attention of sixteen teenagers without having them shut you out completely is no small feat. Learning to tow the line between being an authority figure and someone they can trust. All whilst having no prior experience mothering children.
It’s, at times, anxiety-inducing. I often wonder, am I doing a good job? Am I doing things the right way? Trying to remind myself, as I (so) often forget, that there isn’t really a right or wrong when it comes to guiding children or young adults. It all depends on your intention. If your heart is good, then you will do good. And if that’s not enough, then at least you can rest easy knowing you did your best.
All that aside, it’s joyful. Seeing my students act unabashedly day in, day out, unafraid to claim and express themselves, I realize in moments that more than me teaching them, many times they teach me. I listen to them sing our meal verse beautifully with harmony before lunchtime everyday. Watch them laugh at each other when a mistake is made. See them run through the rain during a flash storm and afterwards ask me if I want a hug. There’s an innocence and purity I appreciate, an open-heartedness I hope to slowly learn from them.
On my drive today a truck was ahead of me, and I smiled as I read a message painted on its back:
God Bless Our Trip.
A simple message, especially in a Catholic country. Yet as I thought about it, I saw the beauty in it. The beauty of surrendering, and trusting, that you are protected and guided. Amidst the chaos and scrambling of the past few months, I lost myself somewhat. My self that knows I am guided. I may not be the perfect teacher, as my achieving self would like to be able to claim to be from the get go. I’m learning, step by step, to trust that I am on the right path. To trust in the process of trial, self-examination, course correction, and growth, which can sometimes be painfully eye-opening, especially with a daily audience of blunt, no-filter twelve-year-olds.