Difficult is Only Temporary
We were about to lease a building but after we had the building inspected, we decided not to move forward.
The problem is not that we don’t have the building, the problem is that our ideas for how to manifest our vision for community research centers won’t get out of my head. I want nothing more than to get them out but I have to finish one thing at a time. Right now, that one thing is to become a scholar-practitioner.
Scholar = Doctor
Practitioner = Model Teacher/National Board /National Geographic Certified
First off, being a scholar-practitioner makes me more effective for my students and allows me to coach other educators (specifically educators who teach students that share commonalities with my population of students) on growing the minds of their students, as well.
Secondly, it will allow me to build the knowledge and skills needed to design a research-based practice that I can pass on to the future generations of my family. I love teaching but no matter how hard I teach, there’s no way I can pass my public school classroom down to my future children. I need to use my passion to prepare generational wealth. I love the work we do with the non-profits we developed but there are no owners or shareholders in nonprofits. I do not want my future children to become young adults that have to “go to college and get a job” when they truly desire to take a year or two to travel abroad or attend acting classes and broadway shows to become an actress. I want my children to be able to develop their own personal-universities or self-prescribed treatment for their lives. I want to create a nest that allows them to have choices on where to fly. I need to beat my craft and get better at teaching this generation because I want my own practice — not my own school. I want to go outside of the US educational system. I want to develop places for research-based practice in many cities across the world. I want to develop streams of passive income from this idea that allow others to grow generational wealth as well. I know some people do not like to hear money talk but I am unapologetic about this.
But I have to admit becoming both scholar and practitioner, at the same time, has been beyond hard. I need to come up with an adjective or metaphor to describe the mental and physical feelings I have when I am experiencing it. I know the root is because as a practitioner, I used to have all of the answers for teaching my students but lately, some of those old teaching strategies just do not work as effectively as they once did, specifically for students with disabilities. This makes my days become really dark. When my students fail, I question myself and every step I take. (I am working on not allowing my work to define my worth.)
Right now, their biggest issue is writing. Not all of my students are not showing progress, I am specifically reflecting on those with emotional issues because those are the students I am not sure of how to teach. Nothing I do, no matter how creative, really motivates them to want to learn. They show many signs of unawareness of their own cognitive issues that our district-mandated curriculum does not offer lesson plans for dealing with. I really do not know how to teach through this. I am committed to learning but it makes me feel depressed, honestly. Not seeing all students grow is really paralyzing, sometimes—most times—but thank goodness for yoga on a personal level and the National Geographic certification on a professional level. It allowed me to teach real-world issues from multiple scales and perspectives that the kids could actually relate to and I felt like I was getting through to my students more than I had all year. I aligned my two activities with our district mandated curriculum and all of my students found the debates about climate change and global warming to be more relevant than anything we did all school year, according to the survey I gave them. Almost all students, including the students that I am most challenged by, seem to be way more interested in current events that impact their lives but their writing still does not meet state level standards, and the students with low motivation for reading and writing are struggling the most. I need more ways to teach them. I have more to learn.
I have never wanted to quit teaching and never wanted to stop learning how to teach from teaching, until now. This doctoral program I am in is more rigorous than I ever imagined and I do not always feel like I have the mental capacity to teach all day and come home and learn. My mind is often overcrowded and fatigued. I’ve been pondering whether to give up teaching or give up school and I cannot decide. I know it’s because I really want to give myself another chance.
The first semester of school is over and as we go into the next, I want to start fresh with better strategies for self-guided doctoral students with depression, ADHD, and anxiety. I need to research these tools for myself as a scholar and for my students, as well. I really need to continue learning how to teach them how to learn, no matter what mentally, tries to distract them from learning. I want these skills to transcend beyond my classroom.
When I realized I could not read more than 5 pages in an hour, back in September, I thought I had ADHD. I am still getting tested but I honestly think I was wrong and was therefore doing even more wrong things that actually made my learning experience worse. Many people confuse the signs of learners with ADHD and learners with Anxiety. I surely did not ever consider the difference until recently reading about it in one of my doctoral classes. These kinds of “ah-ha” moments are the reason I am pushing myself to stay in the classroom, while staying in school. Its really challenging at times but expanding ourselves is not always easy. I have to welcome the uneasy. I will grow through it/because of it. I know “difficult” is only temporary. If I truly want my students to break their chains of illiteracy, I have to break my chains of habitual fear and learn how to build my focus.
I am grateful because I am going to see myself through this.