It’s late, I’m emotional, I’ve had whisky, it’s approaching the end of the semester. I am just about able to taste the wine I’m going to be drinking in just over 2 weeks with my family. I have been dreaming of my mothers’ salads – fresh farm lettuce, avocados, tomatoes and whatever else she throws in.
I can’t sleep though. My mind is churning and I’m sitting here, scowling at the computer while I type, as though there were no other option. I hope that by getting some half-formed thoughts out on this page, I might be able to check of some sort of random, late-night to-do list that my brain has invented and finally be able to sleep.
It just occurred to me that teaching is a bit like having a healing wound. Bear with me. In the beginning, when the wound is new and fresh, you spend a lot (and I do mean a lot) of time thinking about it. It’s presence is constant and you analyze every element of it. Does it hurt more in the mornings or at night? If I’m wide awake or tired? Can people tell I have this wound? Is my current bandage/medicine approach working? Is it super obvious that I’m new at teaching?
Because of the freshness of this wound and your constant awareness of it, being observed and asked to reflect is somewhat easy. It’s always there, always present, so being asked; “How do you think that went?” is like opening a floodgate. I might be sharing a “Dilemma” in a professional group next week. I’ve been warned that it might be challenging – airing a concern/dilemma that I have no idea how to solve/approach before a group of colleagues could be very scary and overwhelming. It likely will be. But my wound is so fresh and ever-present that it might just be like figuring out what kind of topical cream works best.
People who have been teaching longer have ‘healed’ wounds. Some teachers have the kind of “tells me it’s going to rain” wounds – something that aches and pains but doesn’t distract/overwhelm. TOthers have perfectly healed, scarred over, unnoticeable wounds. They forget about it until it’s time to show off the battle scars.
Maybe the ‘rain’ wounds are better. The reminder of the early days, the self-reflection and awareness, seems key to being a good teacher. At least that’s what I see at the school I work at now – a constant push toward improvement and innovation, even from the teachers who’ve been at it for ages. I don’t know.
It’s almost midnight. Wish me luck sleeping.