I’m getting fat. I’ve picked up a few awful habits in past months and lately have spent a lot of time dedicated to thinking of why I haven’t taken care of myself. Why I’m not on fire. Why these are statements, now, and not raging exclamations, or questions, at least.
I’m disappointed in myself. My spine might have turned to jelly, my teaching pedagogy might have changed to getting by, status quo, hiding. No one watches me teach. No one coaches me. No one holds me accountable. No one knows any different.
I’m getting lazy. Lazy is a word I’ve adamantly ignored because I feel there is a very incredibly damagingly negative connotation, and it’s usually misused.
Maybe I forgive too easily, maybe I make too many excuses, but I think very, very few people are genuinely LAZY. They are stuck, they are emotionally messy, they are unbelieving that they can complete the task at hand. Rarely lazy. Mostly fearful.
But I’m lazy. I know better, I expect more, I am capable of more, I am scared of I’ve turned myself into and perhaps more scared of why. I don’t run. I do the minimum at school. I eat poorly. I drink constant caffeine and my body feels bloated and useless. I’m a mess, pretty much.
This is part of what’s stopped my updates. The laziness, and mores the embarrassment that comes as a result. Bigger than that: this is my Third year. I’m TFA-grown and by golly, I should know better. I should do better. I should be better than a first or second year teacher because regardless of anything else I’ve been here longer and I know what it means to work hard and I know what it means to have high expectations and I expect myself to have them.
Until I lose motivation. Or accountability. Or anyone around me that has the time or energy to point out I’ve stopped working as hard. To call me lazy.
Third year TFA means No Longer TFA means Good Luck and Have Fun Feeling Alienated because if you’re not on staff and not a corps member, well, then you’re a teacher. You should have figured it out by now.
This makes me fear the fourth year. I simultaneously very much want to plan and don’t want to plan at all. Facing failure, again, is scary. Keep me where I’m safe and dry and hidden! Keep praising me for Staying A Fourth Year because no one Really wants to stay here, do they.
Well, yes, sometimes.
I love my community for my community, not for TFA, not for proving a point, not for being a martyr or earning incredulous and totally uninformed compliments. I love being here and I know there are other teachers who love being here, too, but if people wonder why it’s so hard to stay, why so many TFAers leave so quick: this is why. The support runs out. The well runs dry. Or as I’ve said 800 times in the past three months: you hit the ceiling. It seems the only people who can help develop alumni are entirely (and rightfully, in the sense of a job) dedicated to the current corps. The rest of us, they figure, MUST be doing SOMETHING right or we wouldn’t have stayed that this or fourth year, right? We’ll be fine.
And yes, we will be fine. We always are. But what about our kids?