I made space in my evening for meditation last night. I did it at a time when I really needed it, but felt very disinclined to do it. And I really appreciated the gift that I gave to myself.
I was ruminating on a perceived hurt. I had a non-run-ing with a colleague over a room booking, where they had seemed (to me, and I bet objectively even, but that’s beside the point) entitled and dismissive of the needs of any other school undertakings than their own.
I still believe this was the case, but it doesn’t grate at my soul in the way that it was doing. I am no longer feeling a seething. burning desire to seek retribution. I’m no longer fantasising about calling them out on their entitled behaviour, or bringing up their difficult nature with management.
Well. Not much anyway.
At some point in the middle of my 15 minutes of meditation (such a break! and it was amazing how long it felt), I tried to recall what I had been feeling, and it was just … gone. The memory of events was still there, but the burning of emotion had ceased.
I nearly missed it.
Does that sound bad? Either one, like? Does it sound bad that meditation subdues emotion? Well, it certainly sounds bad put like that! But I feel that it doesn’t actually subdue any emotion, rather the emotion gets listened to, and like a toddler (or a grown-up me, even!) who has vented zir woes and felt heard in them, it was okay.
I always knew I wasn’t going to do anything about it, but rather than it helping to cycle through fantasies of retribution in my mind, all it was actually doing was spiralling myself into a more and more negative headspace, making me feel stressed and wound up.
Checking in with my body also drew my awareness to an on-going headache, and unfortunately that still hasn’t resolved. I think it’s a stress headache; I can feel the tension in my neck and shoulders. What can be done to help it? Well, meditation is meant to be a stress-reliever, isn’t it?
I’ve a … not quite major event today, but a class organisation thing that I’m feeling nervous about. It’s partially because the “subject” is something that involves ceding a lot of control to the students – it’s really their responsibility, and actually, I really believe in that approach, but the test of how effectively we’ve facilitated that will come this very weekend, after only one class with them, so I’m feeling like my teaching skills will be held up against a light before I’ve even had a chance to let them all out into the air.
Anyway, I guess this sounds like I’m being a bit vague-booky and that’s not it at all, it’s just that it’s rather pointless and boring to go into the details. The pertinent issue is, I guess, that I’m struggling with feelings of lack of control, and worrying about being judged for things that are outside of my control.
Teaching can sometimes feel like that a lot. You get judged on the results of your students and it’s kind of scientifically bollocks. Like, a student is capable and doesn’t work so does poorly. Is that the teacher’s fault? Maybe partially! Certainly part of the job centres around inspiring and motivating, around behaviour management too – and that encompasses the homework and study that’s done outside the classroom. How do you measure that, other than by results. But poor results can come from multiple sources, many of which are nothing to do with the teacher.
So, I guess individual results are neither the teacher’s fault, nor an indicator of their success. But a preponderance of evidence, maybe? Look at the trend of results in the teacher’s class so. Statistics are kind of useless in individual cases, but do tell a story when the dataset is large is enough, right?
Except we stream our students, so if you continually are assigned a lower stream or a middling stream, then your results are going to reflect the same.
Anyway, I’m getting pulled into yet more thoughts about stuff I can’t control. I heard a second-hand quote from another teacher a while back that “My students’ results are none of my business”. It kind of reminds me of another favourite quote of mine: “What people think of me is none of my business”. We – and by we I mean “I” – I am far too tangled up in the “opinions” of external measurements and what I imagine that means about me.
Time to spend more time on internal measurements and what I already know that means about me.