I have had the same goal in my mind for years: To become more open and confident in myself. I am used to second guessing myself all the time, to sitting in the back of the classroom and keeping to myself because I don’t want to say something that sounds stupid. So I’ve spent my life quietly on the sidelines, admiring the people that are able to express themselves so openly.
I have recently gone through a lot of changes in my life. The comfort of working in a place where everyone knows and respects me and where I know the job like the back of my palms is all gone. I resigned in order to be able to complete my teaching internship, which is required to get my teaching license. I am now planning on substitute teaching the days I wont be in the internship.
I don’t know this new job at all and to be honest and I am very afraid of getting out there and learning it. It’s pretty much going to be a sink or swim process when I substitute teach. I am terrified of losing control of the classroom or of sounding dumb in front of a classroom full of students. But I know it is going to help me become a better teacher in the future and will be my source of income for the time being.
I am also taking 15 credits this semester. The classes are more demanding than the ones I have taken in the past and are very heavy on classroom participation, projects, collaboration and presentations. Sitting quietly in the back of the classroom is no longer an option. Between the teaching internship which requires me to teach a classroom full of super smart senior AP students and my college classes, I have been pulled out of my comfort zone so many times in the short week since the semester started, that I feel absolutely drained of all my energy.
The first day of all this mess, I even considered quitting. I was trying to think why I thought teaching would be a good idea in the first place when it required so much public speaking which is something I have never liked. My anxiety has been flaring up like crazy and my self-doubt is at an all time high. Even worse yet, the combination of these two things has made the perfect environment for depression to make a guest appearance too. In short, I am a mess.
I have surprised myself with my childish reaction to all this “newness”. I have found myself crying in the car on the way to school wishing I could just go back to the way things used to be. Hesitating coming in class and taking long “restroom brakes” hoping class will end faster. My mind has been screaming at me to retreat since I started this. But comfort has never been the way to progress. I wanted to become more open… this is most definitely a way to become more open. The world has a funny way of making things happen. I know that the more I put myself out there and the more I participate, the more natural it will become to me and the easier it will get.
It’s just going to suck majorly until I get to that point. Right now I am still awkward when I do participate, I give very basic, bare minimum, safe answers out of fear of sounding dumb if I try to expand on my thoughts. But that’s ok. I have still talked to more people in my classes this past week than I have in the last two semesters combined. I know that this difficult time I am going through is all signaling growth. As long as I keep working at it, I know I will come out of this semester closer to the person I have been wanting to be. But until then, God help me.