Trust the Process

This time of the year is always so crazy for me.  The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and, as a teacher, that represents exhaustion mixed with a lot of bittersweet moments and thoughts.  As tired as I am, as anxious for summer vacation as I am, I find myself, like always, feeling a little sad.  My job as a special education teacher is a little different in that I get to know “my” students very well as I’m with them for literally hours at work.  I see them at their best and I see them, definitely, at their worst.  I can’t help but to become attached to all of them, to some extent, even the ones who drive me the most crazy!  Over the years, I have also become quite attached to many of the adults I work with.  After all, every staff member has to deal with the intensity of dealing with adolescents, many of which face quite extreme challenges that are commonly found in urban schools of poverty.  This level of emotional attachment and intensity has begun to weigh me down.  After dealing with some not-so-great changes the last couple of years, I have begun considering, really considering, looking elsewhere despite the long history at my school and despite some great relationships there.  Part of this job search has included jobs outside of teaching but, lately, it has consisted of looking for jobs within my district (I’m in the second largest district in the state with many schools within it).  Due to seniority, I have been considered for the 3 I applied for.  This week, I finished the second interview.  Now, I prepare myself for the third interview and wait to see if these other schools want me.  It is a nerve-wracking process, with combined with the usual end-of-the-year emotions, a seriously tough political campaign, and trying to make some serious personal changes has pushed me to the edge.  Yet, I have been getting through it the same way I have for most of my life when things get a little tough.  I have been getting through it by seeking out inspiration, by seeking out motivation.  I have found that in John Taylor’s solo career. 

In thinking about leaving the school that I have called home for the past 12 years, I think I have experienced every emotion known to humanity.  Obviously, if I am looking for another job, it hasn’t been good.  It has never been an easy job, especially when I work in an urban middle school with students who often have many issues to deal with on top of having a disability.  It is a job that has pulled my heartstrings more often than I can count and I fully expect to be holding back tears on graduation night like I always do.  Yet, over the course of years, I find the job more and more difficult.  The kids haven’t really gotten any harder but my ability to bounce back from major and minor setbacks has been weakened.  Then, the last few years have seen additional struggles involving people that should be on my side.  It is a fight that I don’t know that I can do anymore.  It is a fight that I don’t want to do anymore.  While my job situation might be completely different than being a rock star, I’m willing to bet that John Taylor felt many of the same emotions when he was getting ready to leave Duran.

When I listen to interviews John has done about leaving Duran, I really find myself relating to much of what he has to say.  First, he often stated about how he wanted to get out for a long time.  I, too, have felt that way, long before I openly admitted it.  So, why didn’t he?  Why didn’t I?  As I stated before, long histories make it tough to walk away, to leave.  You know that when you leave, you are leaving behind people who you care about.  John had to leave his band mates, his good friends.  That can’t have been easy.  He knew that people wouldn’t necessarily understand why he was doing it, no matter how much he explained.  All people would see is that he left.  He left Simon, Nick and Warren.  He walked away.  That sense of loyalty can be very tough to break free from.  Second, he has talked about how it was something he had to do something for himself.  I, too, feel this way.  I, obviously, like kids and I like teaching.  I love the idea of me helping these kids who need so much, but, I need to do something for me for awhile.  Of course, the jobs that I’m looking at, right now, may still involve teaching, but they will be very different.  Two of the schools are less urban and serve a different population.  The other school would mean that I would be changing teaching roles to doing Social Studies.  Thus, I would keep involved in education but in a different way, a different environment.  John did the same thing by going solo.  He didn’t quit music.  He quit where he was.  He changed the scenery and, by doing that, he changed the expectations people had for him and the expectations he had for himself. 

 Then, of course, there are similarities beyond what John ever said in any interview.  John formed Duran Duran.  He had this vision of himself as a very successful rock star and one who could not only handle all that comes with that job but embracing the role.  I did the same thing, only with teaching.  I wanted to be the super successful teacher, the one who not only wasn’t afraid of those at-risk kids but the one who embraced them, who loved, who helped them.  Like John, I was successful.  I am successful at it.  Yet, there often comes time when walking away, when leaving is the only chance at coming back.  I suspect that if John didn’t leave when he did, he wouldn’t have made it.  Perhaps, then, he would have left Duran five years later and the band would have ended and Duran Duran music would have stopped in 2002.  Instead, we had a reunion of the Fab 5 around that time.  Maybe Roger and Andy would have never come back.  When John left, he didn’t just twiddle his thumbs.  He wrote and played his own music and dealt with issues that needed dealing with, issues that he couldn’t as a part of Duran.  I feel this way, too…not that my life is like John’s or vice versa.  I just feel like I need to take some time for myself, to evaluate my life and what I would like it to be from now on.  I know that I can’t do that if I continue in the same position.  I would be too drained to do that.  Perhaps, then, like John, I would be able to return to a job like the one I’m in now.  Nonetheless, it isn’t an easy process.  It is tough, especially when nothing is certain.  Heck, I may not even be offered a new job.  Yet, at this time, I choose to follow John Taylor’s words and deeds by taking it one day at a time and by trusting the process.

-A

11 thoughts on “Trust the Process”

  1. Thanks A. Just what I needed to hear right in this moment. I find it so hard to remember to hand it all over & trust the process. Good luck with your big changes. Bx

  2. Thanks Amanda for your reflections on taking a leap of faith, trusting your gut even when the familiar is familiar but no longer the right path u envision for yourself. It was cool how you used JTs decision to leave Duran as a parallel to your own experience at this crossroads.
    As a former middle school counselor, I understand to some degree, the experiences and demands that are placed upon teacher, particularly special Ed teachers. If parents, administrators, school board and superintendent s really knew what you do each day to make a difference in a child's life and all those you serve, their heads would explode lol

    Know that you have made a difference, even though some days it may not feel like it or it is not visible or acknowledged. You've planted seeds of change that will continue to grow beyond your time spent with your students and their caregivers. And as someone who appears dedicated and passionate about education, it isn't a sign of “giving up” as u said with JT, it's just taking time to explore other paths and possibilities within education or music as in JTs case. And although it's scary, enjoy the ride. Sure, there's those white knuckled experiences, but as I've been told, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sounds a lot like what I found out in working in public schools and higher Ed. And the other thing that motivated me was “change is scary as hell, but the alternative is to spend the rest of your life exactly as it is now”.

    Crossroads for me too.
    Worked out for JT. It'll work out for u too. May not be the same $$, but doing what u love is priceless. And a final adage is “do what u love and the money will follow”

    Bon chance mon ami
    Deb

  3. Yeah, I have often said that my job would make for a hell of a reality TV show. People would be shocked and would assume that the producers were making it more extreme than it is.

    Thanks for the luck!

    -A

  4. Can relate…I'm a teacher myself, but I teach regular ed. Some people assume that teaching is easy since “you get the whole summer off ya know”… LOL…but it definetly is a job that you can “loose a part of yourself” in. I feel that too many times during the year. We have to deal with so many of life's problems and the effects it has on children, that somedays it feels like we are climbing a mountain that will never end. Hang in there…I hope you find a postion that will give you more time for yourself but still let you do what you love. Wishing you all the best!!!!

  5. I had a lightbulb moment while brushing my teeth. Why these moments come to me in the bathroom, I don't know why, probably because it is the only place I can think without being bothered 😉 anyway, I saw a course advertisement at my university from the school of journalism and mass communication, an upper division course for majors only. An elective. Believe it or not, it was about Adam sandlerisms, of whom I am a fan. So here's my lightbulb that pertains to you and teaching: why not see if you could teach part time or more in such a fashion? Wouldn't it be cool to have a course on Duran Duran? Maybe in another department.

    Or, maybe it is Bout writing about Duran Duran, not a music course.

    Or, as I did, I taught as a part timer for many years in the college of education about child and adolescent development. Why not special education? Or other areas of expertise u have to share as a practitioner.

    So many times students complain thatt what is lacking from their degree programs is just that– people who are working in the field and have direct knowledge, not professors who in their mind, may not have worked a day in the environments they are teaching about which can be the case depending on the field.

    So I'd just share that with you.
    So, I'll just LALO 😀

    Deb

  6. We had a lot of different courses offered at my university that were similar to what you've mentioned. I couldn't find the time/room in my schedule for many of them, but we had a course on just the Beatles. We had an American Studies course (my major) on just the 1960s (I actually did take that – it was my emphasis), we had a film studies course on Spaghetti Westerns (I still don't understand those), we had a course on Disneyland and it's effect on pop culture (wish I'd taken that)…a music course on Punk, another on Disco…of course this was all done before the massive budget cuts and things, but I loved those courses. I took one on space, and I don't mean “outer” space – I mean space or a sense of place. Driest damn course I've ever taken but I did learn a lot from it .

    It would be a dream to teach a course on Duran Duran, but I wouldn't dare think that I could do something like that. A course on Fandom yes, but Duran Duran? I don't think I come even remotely close to knowing enough, although Amanda might! 😉

  7. Amanda, don't forget the teacher expertise you have as well, as a special educator.

    But, as you said to Rhonda, team teaching works great, although a university will only pay for one person to teach. And by the way, the going rate at this large Midwestern public university that rhymes with Ghent in Ohio where a historic event took place and csny wrote a song about (4 dead in Ohio), the going rate is/was $4800 per class taught per semester, and it could be an online course, too if it were about Duran. Not too shabby, eh?

    Upper division courses won't have more than 15-25 students for undergrad.
    And for special Ed? You could teach in grad school!
    Don't recommend summer teaching….it's hell. Trust me.
    But I taught a class a week, 1 evening, 3 hours, and worked my full time job in public school.

    Last, private university pay is 1/2 of what I quoted you.

    You could do this. You already are you know, blogging, writing the book, doing the history, and really, think of how your trips to see the band could be business related expenses subject to tax deductions form 2106! Lol

    Love u guys. I'd take the class. Gladly!
    Deb

  8. Yeah, I have no doubt that I could teach a class at the college level. That said, it won't be enough to live on and I have no time. Seriously, if you only knew..

    Glad that you would take a Duran class by us!

    -A

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