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The struggle alone passes, not the victory – Blaise Pascal

I woke up this morning and I was completely exhausted.  The thought of leaving the house and having to talk to people was overwhelming and I probably could have slept for another 4 hours just like I do on the weekends.  I’m just so tired. That being said, this is not going to be one of those posts about how tired I am and what I did to rejuvenate myself. I’m finally writing another blog post because there are things I need to say to myself and writing helps me articulate it better. I am tired, it’s a feeling I’ve been struggling with for a while now.

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I never explored any other options. It has been and will always be my passion. But nothing could have prepared me for what I’m presently experiencing. Teaching 21st century children is probably the most difficult job in the world today and anybody who wants to argue against that can bring it on!

But I find that for some time now I’ve been struggling – struggling to find myself, to understand who I am as a teacher, what my role should be, where I see myself in the next few years and of course, struggling to come to terms with the education system as it exists today.

I’m struggling with the rapid rate with which things change. I’ve thought about slowing down; taking a sabbatical, maybe spending a few years studying some more – which my supervisor says is absolutely normal.  That’s not comforting. There’s just so much to learn, so much to do, so many deadlines to meet and in the middle of all that mayhem I wonder if I’m still being as effective in the lessons I teach and in the relationships I forge with the children.  When I go home every day I spend time thinking if I made the most of my day. Sometimes I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. Sometimes I wish I had done things differently. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I’m angry. Mostly I struggle.

But as I sit here sipping on my coffee as it cools in the cavernous Starbucks mug I just bought, I look back at the teacher I used to be and the teacher I’ve become. I realize that no matter how much I grumble and how cynical I sometimes feel, the struggle has made me a better teacher. I know more. I understand more. And as I struggle, I grow more.

I’ve been teaching for a little over six years now, that’s nothing compared to the stalwarts I’m surrounded by and in this time I’ve realized I want to do so much more. I want to do so much more than I am presently doing. Not outside of education. Don’t get me wrong, I’m passionate about education – that won’t change. But I want to do something else, and at this point, I don’t know what that is. I want to do something for the kids I teach, for the kids I meet, for the kids I will meet in the future but from where I am today, I can’t see out too far into the horizon and I don’t know what the master’s plan for my life is.

But you know what? I’m ok with that ambiguity. I’m fine with not knowing. If teaching has taught me anything it is that you must always expect the unexpected – you never know what will happen next or who will ask a question that will leave you gaping. This calm reassurance is so beautifully new to me. A few years ago, the uncertainty would have shaken me. But there are two life-affirming facts that drive me and strengthen me ceaselessly. I was born to teach – I love children and I know that no matter how the world changes I will continue to strive to make a difference in as many lives as I possibly can. I’m in this for the long haul and I’m just getting started.

The second fact is simply this (and let me quote from one of my favourite hymns)

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand.

I’m an idealistic teacher. I’m still young. I’m quite inexperienced. I still dream. I think too much. I question too much. I worry about how things will change and how my role will evolve. But beneath all of that is the calm reassurance that I know why I was chosen to do this. I understand that this is my calling and it will not be as easy as I may have thought it would be. But I’m ready – more ready today than I’ve ever been to take this journey. I may be tired. I do struggle, but I am happy and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

Anyway, my coffee is over, the laundry is done and at this point that’s all I know. And that’s good enough for me.

Good night everyone.

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3 comments on “The struggle alone passes, not the victory – Blaise Pascal

  1. Sir, beautiful thoughts just like the wonderful teacher that you are.God Bless you always!

  2. You are talking,here,on behalf of all sincer teachers who decided from the beginning to be teacher guid,inspir others who didn’t want to work to earn more .They are always worried
    Need to makes sure about their achievements
    I call sometimes sickness of teaching.
    But still the teacher is a prophet.
    Still the teacher is the first messenger in spite of all challenges and struggles.
    J aime beaucoup ce tu as écrit,Sydney.
    Bon courage

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