Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Guilt of Feeling Ungrateful

I'm facing a little of a personal dilemma today....and it's eating away at me.

I thought that once I found a job, I'd be happy.  I am happy.  What I mean is, I thought I'd be done - done with worrying, done with looking, done with getting frustrated.  I'm not.  And now it's worse, because I still have all of those feelings - but add a side of guilt on the side, because I feel guilty about not being grateful that at least I have a job.

Anyone that knows me personally, or have spent some time reading my blog, knows that my dream is to work in a classroom....more specifically a classroom in a public school teaching a grade between kindergarten and 4th grade. 

If you know me personally, you're probably surprised to see the addition of kindergarten to my list of "dream grades".  That's because, after spending some time in a kindergarten classroom - I had fun, the kids learned a lot, and I could see myself teaching kindergarten...something I didn't know about myself until it actually happened.

So, I have a job that will be teaching pre-K.  It's a teaching job.  Yes.  It's technically in my own classroom.  Yes.  BUT it's not the same.  I don't get the excitement of setting up my own classroom, writing extensive lesson plans, introducing concepts such as readers and writers workshop, math centers, or science/social studies units. 

After getting my trunk load of goodies from my teacher friend, yesterday, it's been worse.  I sorted through some of the stuff and planned in my head how great the stuff would look in a kindergarten classroom, a 1st grade classroom, etc. etc.  Then I was struck with that feeling...again...that feeling of what if I don't ever get that classroom that I dreamed of?

So, now here I am feeling like an ungrateful you know what.  Am I wrong for still feeling upset about not having a classroom?  I don't think so - but I should just be grateful I have some form of a job and suck it up, right?

I still find myself searching the school websites EVERY single day....often several times a day.  I'm still sending emails to principles.  I'm still hoping, praying, dreaming, and wishing that one of them will send me a return email or give me a phone call and say "Can you come in for an interview?" 

I have exactly one week left until I start in my new position.  Most people would be happy about that...but me?  No, I'm looking at it as having one week left to maybe, somehow, by some miraculous force, find a job in the public schools.

I'm sick, aren't I?  Feel free to be honest - I know what you're probably thinking.

When I really think about it - it comes down to being happy.  Now I'm worried that I'll get in to this new job, and not be happy.  I'll still dream about getting a job in the schools.  My work will suffer because I'm not 110% as dedicated to being a pre-K teacher as I would be working in the schools.  I worry because it's not fair to the kids.  They deserve a teacher that wants to be there.... is excited to be there....isn't looking for the first opportunity to run out the door and to the comforts of the paradise of a school classroom....the paradise that has been in my dreams for 25 years.

When I think about myself - I know that I won't let my feelings affect the kids.  It's just not who I am.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I'll get in to that classroom and dedicate myself to helping those kids, teaching those kids, and making sure they have fun.  But I know it won't change my inner feelings.

Yesterday, I saw that yet another of my fellow interns had found a job in the schools...and a small piece of me died.  It's such a crushing experience.  It sounds is.  I'm happy for them - all of them - that find a job.  I just feel a piece of my heart being chipped away when I hear that there's one less chance that something might happen for me.

HOLY CRAP BALLS - I sound just like I did before I got my job.  What's wrong with me?

OK - I have to stop now.  I don't want to get back into this spiral.  I have a job.  I should be happy.  I am going to be able to pay my bills, still work in a classroom, and help kids.  I have to get over this. 

Time to stop.

Till next time. ;)
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  1. I appreciate your honesty in this post but I do have to say right now you are just feeling down because you did not get what you "thought" you would.

    I think you need to give it a chance. As you stated, you will make the best of the situation but realize that you might love it and go into it with this attitude. Sometimes we really do not know what we want and something beyond our control intervenes and gives us an "ahhh" moment.

    Realize that these kids will be so excited, well some of them. I actually ran away from kindergarten when I was taken there, we did not have pre-K. But remember you will be shaping their day. This is very powerful.

    Hang in there and I will be watching for more updates.

  2. Thanks, KD. It's funny, but after reading my post over - I realized how I'd grown to love kindergarten after giving it a chance. I haven't given Pre-K a maybe I will like it.

    You're totally right about the not getting what I "thought" I would. It's crushing when you spend so long working for a goal - and then not being able to reach it. Maybe I'll be surprised when I actually get in there.

  3. You just might end up loving Pre-K. Glad to see you're going to give it a chance!

    As an advocate for children, I have to urge you to commit to one year. Just know it's going to be a play-oriented environment -- your challenge is to truly believe and trust that children learn best when they are playing. One of the best resources for teachers of young children is Preschoolers have been my focus for over 30 years -- I'm happy to share with you and support you in any way I can.

  4. Joanne, I have been thinking about this post and wanted to say the right thing. First of all, I understand how you feel, if that helps. As a high school teacher, I was placed in a grade two classroom and I questioned if I would like it.

    "Was it going to be intellectual enough?" I wondered. "Would I be bored?" I pondered. But I went ahead anyways. It was a job and I wasn't in a position to turn it down. And I loved it. Sure, it was not what I had planned. But the joy of teaching was there.

    You are a teacher. Period. You will teach. In that little Pre-K classroom, you will teach, and the joy of teaching will carry you through. Can you still dream about your perfect K-4 classroom? Definitely! And with your passion, you will most likely get it.

    But this year, teach, to the very best of your ability. You will learn TONS and you will take all that experience and wisdom to wherever your next job is ... ENJOY and start planning, girl!!!!! Lots of hugs!!!!

  5. Wow - thank you. This really put some things into perspective for me. Thank you so much for your support. I am going to go into my classroom with my head held high - and teach those little kiddos everything I can!!


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