I write because I like to analyse situations and feelings in hopes to either lighten my load, or to gain a deeper understanding of what it is that I am feeling.
I haven’t written of recent, because I haven’t had the want, or ‘need’ to delve into the Area 51 of my current state. There has been so much felt, yet nothing all at the same time…but as I sit here right now, I feel the desperation and need to write; to offload and unpack this heavy weight.
I feel guilt. I always feel guilt. As soon as I type this word, tears begin to stream as I sit here and type. That is the word I feel. GUILT. Eureka!
In eight days, I will no longer be employed as a teacher. In eight days, I will have left my job at my current school. In eight days, I will be leaving my class of children.
It was today however, that I told them of my plans to not return after the Easter break. Guilt.
I expected that it was going to be difficult. I did not expect to feel such a surge of guilt.
Millie, the therapist that I have been seeing, said that when we experience something which triggers our insecurities, we revert back to the age that we were during that time during our trauma. I was a child. When I experience situations relating to insecurity, fear and abandonment, I experience these emotions as a young child.
Part of my reason and dedication to teach and work with children, was the opportunity to possess the ability to help look after children and ensure that children feel love, safety and hope. For the last seven months, I have done everything in my power to make these children feel safe, loved, special and happy. Today I made them feel the complete opposite.
“Why have you chosen to leave us?”
“Did you not have the choice to stay?”
“Are you coming back to us? Can we wait?”
I feel selfish. I feel guilty that I have abandoned ship whilst guiding the children on their journey through school and this academic chapter which we had embarked on together.
I am not abandoning the ship. There is no ship to abandon. I have created this ship myself. This is just another expectation which I have set myself only to fail at, again.
Teachers are not meant to be ships; solely responsible for all passengers on board and their survival during the journey towards their destination. Other teachers view themselves as the sea’s current; guiding each child to steer and sail themselves towards their destination. Other teachers may view themselves as a highly experience skipper or marina; offering the recommended resources and equipment to support a range of different sailors and their journeys out at sea.
Pep talk: You are not the captain of this ship. This is not the Titanic. You are not the iceberg. This ship is not sinking. THERE IS NO SHIP.
I am however, the captain of my own ship, my own life, and that vessel has been somewhat neglected. I do not blame the children; these girls and bouys have been the force that has kept me afloat. I blame the system and the workload. If that does not change, this academic ocean will be full of ghost ships and shipwrecks.
I cannot feel guilt anymore. Guilt has always worked its way up to the surface. I have never been able to find the strength to swim away from it. I have always been made to feel guilt. I have grown up believing that.
Rather than feeling guilt for the decisions that I have made, I should feel pride. I have dedicated everything to these children during the last seven months, and I am proud of this. I have pride in the fact that children came to me with not a word of English, and are leaving me with a creative and passionate tongue because of the extra time I spent helping them. I have pride in the fact that I have worked closely with the families of the children I teach; supporting them in other aspects of their lives that go beyond the school gates.
I have not abandoned ship. I have helped the children in order to build their own vessels, and now it is time for the children to take their oars and start sailing, like I am about to. I should not feel guilty for leaving the children, but instead, proud of what I have left the children with. I have one more week to convince the children to feel the same.
Then…It is to start that new chapter of mine. A change of current. A change of tide.