Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

Friends, I am walking through that door. I *have* walked through the door. Well, technically I was pushed out the door.
Instead of one of the pills leading through the metaphorical door, these two pills helped me survive on the bad side, the 'closed-mind' side.
The blue pill is an anti-depressant. After weeks of increased crying at school, I caved and started Zoloft. It definitely helped the crying and I think it also helped me stay a little bit more patient and react less in difficult situations.
The yellow pill is Ambien. I was completely unable to sleep through the night on my own--during the week. On the weekends, I slept perfectly well.
It really, REALLY bothered me that I needed a drug to make it through the day and a drug to make it through the night, just for this job. I know that the year started off extra stressfully (is that a word?), with the moving and the new job and the new life. I knew this job wasn't healthy, but I'm not a quitter. I refused to give up. I figured I could grit my teeth and just get through it. My definition of an okay day was a day that wasn't terrible. Working so many hours and putting up with crap from students and crap from my supervisors, my standards kept lowering--but I was surviving, after all!
I dreamed of quitting starting halfway through September. The fantasy of throwing up my hands and walking out the door looked better and better as the weeks wore on, but I just kept gritting and surviving day to day. I desperately wanted to quit, but I worried about what that meant--about me as a person, about me as a teacher, about my classes, about my students who would be abandoned. I hated the thought of making that tough decision. I didn't want to face any of that, so I kept my head down and getting through.
But my principal made the decision for me. I know that it was the right decision, and I know that I feel so much lighter and happier and oh my god, the relief!
I no longer need to choose either of these pills, because I have been freed!


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Your attitude is superb! I imagine you'll be landing your dream job in the not-too-distant future. Best wishes!

allirab@earthlink.net said...

CTG has heard this before - but have you considered teaching internationally?
I was in your shoes a few years ago - teaching for the DoE was so stressful for me that I also was on anti-depressants and sleeping pills. I also was vomiting half a dozen times a day. [There's precious little in this world more humiliating than vomiting in front of your students.... shudder!]
The day I handed in my resignation, the vomiting stopped, and I began sleeping through the night with no medication. I went to the UNI job fair in Iowa, and got a job teaching overseas.
I can't tell you how much I love teaching now - I never have the 'Sunday Night Dread' feeling, I never have to convince myself to get out of bed in the mornings, and I love going to work every day.

I really think international teaching is the best kept secret in education!