It is a jungle out there for teachers. Whether I am a substitute or a full-time staffer, the tension that can pull a teacher apart can take its toll.
"The Horror! The Horror!"
Well, as far as teaching is concerned, I chose the difficulties, I chose to stick it through one last time.
What is it all coming to for us? For teachers, I mean. The classroom is less and less safe for the instructor, where the administrators cannot support us even if they want to. The fear of lawsuits, the challenge to make budget every semester, every year is quite a challenge.
Bad students get worse, in part because they know that no one is going to do anything about what they are doing. The whole thing is just terrible.
The inherent conflict of teaching and discipline, and having no power to do either, is a very trying mix. What a shame that so many teachers start out bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, then in the end they get so depressed or burned out. I do believe that there are some people who enjoy being teachers, but slowly I was just not one of them.
Why was it so traumatic? Trying to control something that was unmanageable. It has taken me a long time to accept that there are many things which are out of my control, and more importantly that Someone within me and outside of me has everything in His hands. It has taken me a long time to learn how to rest, and I had to end up in the worst schools in the South Bay to learn to stop being responsible for everything and trust, trust, trust! All things do indeed work for good.
It was not the guerrilla sniping of the bad students, the unpredictability of the lessons. The false belief that I must step into a problem which I have no control over, that creates the problems, the stress which depresses.
The real hardship lay in that it was predictably unmanageable. I have no right to compare what I went through with the pain and travail which afflicts our soldiers. They face the terrible privations of war, fighting an enemy which in many cases they are not permitted to defeat. Such was the case for men who fought in Vietnam, I believe.
How many of our men and women have come back from the front, damaged by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? It seems to me that many of our troops suffer from these traumas because they are trying to control something within themselves which simply cannot be controlled.
That's what happened to me. The last thing that any human being wants to accept is that bad things happen, and we cannot control them on our own. Now I am learning that it is not my job to control the universe. He has everything in His hands, and as I learn to just rest in His Truth, not adding or embellishing my thoughts and provocations with the realities around me, I find that His peace just flows in my life. We are not here to fight to make people do anything, Even Jesus did not die on the Cross so that human beings would be forced to believe on Him.
At the time, subbing, whether day-to-day or long-term, I was convinced that everything had to depend on me in some way or another: crazy-arrogant, but true then.
No one had a chance of getting anything done in these classes, it was such a terrible joke.
I would walk into a classroom, and I had no idea what to expect. Actually, I did know what to expect in many cases, for many times the students would be disrespectful and out of control, and there was nothing that I could do about it.
Long-term substitutes have it almost as bad as student teachers, except at least we get paid to be there.
Those were tough time for me, always looking back over my shoulder, trying to make sure that I never made a mistake. That is not life, that is not peace, that is not prosperity.
I was hitting rock bottom on many issues in those days. It had to be that way.
I do not regret one day that I have faced so far. I have learned that we will suffer, we will relive, if we do not let ourselves die and permit Him to live through us. This lesson takes a long time for people to learn, and I am glad that it was not too late for me to get it.
I do not have to struggle with PTSD. No one does. I hope that I can some day let men and women in the armed forces know that they do not have to fight the battles anymore in their heads. There remains a rest for the people of God. We enter it by faith!