As a teacher, I hope that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I can make a difference in the life of my students. That's all I can hope for. Starting at a new school district this year has been challenging. It was also not an easy decision to make. For the past nine years. I developed relationships with other teachers, my students, and their families. I knew I'd have mixed emotions about leaving once I made the decision to go, but I never realized the emotional roller coaster that would come with this change.
I left a family, a family I developed relationships with. We laughed together, we cried together, and we supported each other. I had gotten into a routine; I felt comfortable where I was, but I decided it was time for a change. I made a conscious decision to jump into the cold water and let what would happen, happen. And things happened. I got offered a new job, and I decided to accept the position.
The initial excitement of feeling needed somewhere hit me. It was the beginning of a new journey. After a few days, I battled with the decision of leaving my current job. Am I making the right decision? Should I really do this? That step of the life changing process lasted awhile. I knew in my heart I was making the right decision; my mind (especially my OCD mind) doubted everything I did. That was a tough battle. I kept questioning whether I was listening to my intuition by taking on this new opportunity or making the wrong decision.
Drawing from a former student
Doubt. My OCD loves doubt. It plays with my emotions and keeps me wondering if I did the right thing or if I made the wrong choice. After some time battling with my doubt OCD, I finally started to tell myself--I did the right thing. I knew I did, but squashing those doubtful thoughts was not always easy.
My confusion and frustration turned into excitement again. I started thinking of new teaching ideas, getting excited for my upcoming professional development, and meeting new people. That excitement lasted for awhile until it was almost time for school to start. A new emotion gave way and was extremely hard to shake off. I was extremely sad. I was sad for leaving my good friends, for leaving the students whom I love so much, the people who cared for me every day for the last nine years. That was a rough feeling. Leaving my job was like a loss I had to work through. I think the sadness was the hardest emotion during this time of change. There were some teary-eyed days. Talking to my friends or texting them made me feel infinitely more sad. It was a hard realization that I was starting over.
Tears, uncertainty, excitement, and anxiety: what an unexpected ride.
Pine cone gift from a former student.
After the first month of school, I had gotten into more of a routine and the sadness lifted. I feel good about my decision. I always had; it was just really difficult to separate the emotions I was feeling from the choice I made and the reason I made it.
My new classroom
Bottom line: I'm getting my work done and not taking it home, I have a manageable caseload, and I love ESL kiddos. I've realized now that the anxiety and sadness has passed, that I did the right thing. I will never forget my years at my former job. I belonged there, and I love that I felt so comfortable in my skin. But I keep reminding myself I was there for 9 years. 9 years of building relationships. 9 years for people to get to know me.
New endeavors always start out with a sense of uneasiness, especially when you have anxiety. Eventually, people will get to know me, and I will get to know people too. Students will do the same, and so will their families. It takes time to build relationships, and I am looking forward to doing so. I can't say that my emotions about leaving my former job will never resurface. And if they do, its okay. I welcome those feelings with open arms. After all, it is hard to leave one family you love to start building a new one.
Love and happiness <3 Holly