Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Brea: Une Nuit Blanche
I did not sleep well one day that I was working for Brea Olinda.
What was this nightmare in which I found myself?
What could be done to break free? I kept thinking that if I tried a little harder, did a little more, planned the lessons a little tighter, then everything would work out just fine.
But when a teacher had no authority to command any respect over the classroom, then what's the point?
I was so stressed, so pressed, to have and keep my job, so full of reproach was I that if I could not keep a job, then I was not a worthy human being.
This has never been the case, of course, but at the time, I was so hurried with shame that I could not let myself down. I just could not let go, so convinced was I that if I let everything, anything go, then the whole thing would come crashing down on me, whatever "the whole thing" was, I do not know.
One night, I was so distraught over everything that was out of my control, which was pretty much everything. I could not sleep, no matter how hard I tried to put out of my mind all the work that I was responsible for.
Three in the morning, and so overwhelmed was I that I began taking a long walk, even visiting the nearby Seven-Eleven just to get some peace, find some solace, get some answers from someone else. Une nuit blanche is French for "a sleepless night", and I had many of them while working for that one month in Brea.
The lengths that I went to for peace, and I could not find it, perhaps because the peace that I needed, I already had, I was just so foolish and slow of heart to know any better.
The guy working at the Seven-Eleven did not know what to tell me, for better or for worse. At the supermarket around the corner, some of the receiving and shipping staff stood by to help me as best as they could. They told me to start calling parents, to tell them to sit in the class with me, that they needed to see how the students were acting up.
I had done all of these things time and again. The fundamental false premise, that I was a bad teacher who could get better with the right tricks and zaps, I never bothered to question. That the administrators were at fault, not to mention the foppy parents who enabled their disrespectful children, in no way did I allow myself to make them accountable, that I could not be a good teacher because of them.
I was one condemned individual in those days. What a shame for me, yet the pressure was so bad, the challenges for me so great in those days to learn that God Almighty always has everything prepared for me.
It was a terrible job from beginning to end, and the rousing support that I received from students who were glad that they were finally learning some French was not enough to keep in the classroom for the rest of the semester.