Optimism: a good goal to have; a difficult thing to practice. We all go through seasons where things become difficult. When we get consumed with the situation we are in and don’t know what is around the corner. I’m going through one of these seasons at the moment. I’ve had a challenging term. I was bombarded with work and became overwhelmed, I’ve been unwell several times, I’ve had difficult moments in the classroom, I’ve questioned my decision to teach, I’ve dreaded the morning phone call. And yet I know that things will become easier if I change my mindset. I know that this is just a phase and that I won’t be a relief teacher forever, but I still lose sight of these truths and let pessimism reign.
One of the most challenging parts of relief teaching is this: you constantly feel disconnected. You may regularly teach at one school, but you’re still not seen as part of the staff. You may have other ‘teacher-friends’ but you’re on different journeys. You may eventually get to know the students quite well but at the end of the day, you’re going to leave the school not knowing whether you’ll ever teach that same group of children again. Relief teaching is isolating. And it’s hard to keep pushing forward when you’re feeling disconnected.
So what is the solution to all of this? Well, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m very grateful for the people in my life who are there to encourage me on this journey, and thankful that this season won’t last forever. My only option is to keep moving forward, one day at a time, and reminding myself of the truths that I can be certain of: this season will end, you chose this career for a reason, hindsight will bring clarity to this moment, there is a purpose in what you do.