Friday, February 19, 2016

The art of hanging in there



It's been four weeks to the day since I squeezed the last of my belongings into the only remaining spare space in my car; turned for one last look at the wee old cottage I had loved for two years; and drove over 1200 kilometres to a new job and new life across the sea in the north island of New Zealand. 
Fear is a funny thing. We think of it as being tied to moments of danger, but in my case it was fear of standing in front of my fresh new year 9 students at the school I was about to start teaching at, in a subject area I did not know at all. THAT was fear. I sweated my way through the first ten days; cried all the way home most days after school and wondered repeatedly what the hell I was doing there.
Every morning I get up at 4.55am and am at school by 6 so that I can prep for the day. I need to learn my subject over and over so that when I deliver it, at the very least I am one step ahead of my students. It's a stressful way to stay on top and it feels like treading water on a daily basis. Add to this the manic rush that is life in a school ... so much that goes on behind the scenes to get the day going and running smoothly. 
Last week one student - aged 14 - told me "F.....K!" In response to being asked to sit in her allocated seat, whilst another student yelled "penis, penis, penis" just because he could. He also did this to another teacher in the school the following day. Why? I feel the grey hairs growing on a daily minute by minute basis.
One friend said "we don't do this for the pay or the holidays. We do this for the kids". Damned right we don't do this for the pay (if we manage to GET paid - I am currently in a battle with the infamous Novopay to get paid what I should be paid); indeed the holidays are awesome - but yep - DEFINITELY it's for the kids. For some of these kids we teachers are the only people who give them any hope.
This week I managed to only cry once and to not sweat my way through the day due to stress. I even had two or three days when I declared that I "loved" what I was doing. That was the day before the "F" word and the penis incident.  One day at a time.
Friday's are fabulous and the holidays are not far away really. The change of scene has been nice too even though I really struggled in the humid heat of the north island Coromandel area compared to the south Canterbury area. I don't do heat well. It's so important though to hold onto the things that make me me - my mountain biking; hiking .... the things that help me to hang in there ... watching the amazing sunsets.



Hanging in there is both an art. I feel now more than ever, the importance of hanging in there - the best is yet to come I am sure.