Yesterday, I was in a staff meeting, receiving professional development on our new teacher evaluation model – I started to feel tears welling up in my eyes. Quietly, I excused myself and made it to my classroom as quickly as I could, starting to breath extremely heavy as I was within feet away from my door. I got inside, slammed door shut, my knees buckled, and I fell into a squat against the door. Tears were streaming down my face faster than I could wipe them away. I was having an anxiety attack. I suddenly felt like the weight of the world had fallen upon me and I wasn’t strong enough to handle it. I kept thinking in my head over and over, “I can’t do this.. I can’t do this.. I can’t do this.. I can’t do this.” As if everything else going on in my life wasn’t enough, this new teacher evaluation model had made things a million times worst. This year is for sure going to be the hardest year of my life.
This year, I am new to being a fourth grade teacher – the struggle of learning new curriculum and procedures at the same time that my students are is a real concern for me (first graders are certainly very different from 4th). How can I be an effective teacher if I don’t even know what I’m teaching? The responsibilities of completing my internship as a requirement for my Master’s program are very REAL and very INTENSE. I had just revamped my goals and proposal for my after-school program, requiring more time and commitment in order for me to truly impact the community. The fear of all of these responsibilities was setting in and I was very unclear how I’d survive being stretched so thin. The pressure to receive high ratings as a teacher, to fulfill my internship duties, to instill important values in these little girls, impact the community, AND still have time to grow my blog was now too much. And to think, I wanted to commit to a weight loss challenge to do something that would make me feel good about myself, where was I going to get the energy to work out if I can’t even remember to eat?
I sat there for a few minutes, just practicing breathing. And I thought about every time in the last few years that I wanted to give up because life got hard, I thought about each end result. I thought about who I had the power to become if I just stuck this out inside of quitting (it was a real thought). I thought about how often I teach my students about the importance of grit and perseverance. It wasn’t long before I stood up, went back to my meeting, and pretended it never happened.
Since then I have been continuously thinking about my fear of failure and how uncomfortable I currently am. I want to remind you guys how uncomfortable growth can be. If you’re comfortable, if you’re not afraid.. you are not pushing yourself hard enough. We have been designed to strengthen our muscles based on how much we test our limits, our minds are no different. What are you doing to step out of your comfort zone?