The flip of the finals schedule was like a gift from the rainy cloudy heavens. It’s the last day for teachers to be with students and I don’t have any finals to give. My grades are posted and my throat is scratchy. I took a sick day thinking I’d go workout, accomplish some major stuff (like what would that even be, idk), but my body has other plans. My body knows that I finally have the time and space to completely fall apart, sleep for 12 hours for a few days in a row, and then reunite with myself sometime in July.
Reflecting on this school year is strange because I don’t have the words for it yet. It went quickly and slowly. I was challenged in new ways because I was more equipped than ever to actually face those challenges. After a whole year of attempting to make one class in particular ‘better people’, I felt like a total failure when I approached them arguing outside of my class before our exam over if they should go in or not because it’s “not even my classroom anyways.” Context: I taught them Spanish in a biology lab. In our final two minutes together with the most silence I’ve ever heard, I thanked them for being my students. I thanked them for their challenges. And yes if that wasn’t disgustingly cheesy enough for you, I thanked them because they made me a better teacher. I couldn’t get away with anything, which as a non-perfectionist was tough. I’m talking a new activity every 7-8 minutes; shout out to primary school teachers.
Of course it all sounds so beautiful now, but there was some days where they brought out the worst in me. And funnily enough, did that also teach me to be a better person? They win again. In the depths of winter I was waking up at 5 am to do yoga, to meditate, to have ceremonies with myself about staying positive and to not get into an argument with a teenager. It didn’t always work and by the end of the year I wound down by sleeping in, but I learned how much connecting with my body and mind and breath could really change my energy and mood. I was a few heartbeats away from buying a crystal online. I didn’t because I probably ordered food instead.
Having my jaw wired shut almost 3 years ago now- and yes it makes me happy that I don’t really remember if it’s 2 or 3- literally formed me (and my jaw) into the person that I am today in terms of health and wellness. I’ve probably talked about this before, but it’s been a while so allow me to reminisce my diet of frozen nuggets, zebra cakes, cheese with a side of pasta, and multiple cookies and ice cream each night. Yesterday I ate a piece of pizza and my body was not pleased. Technically am I still on my 30 day gluten free dairy free trial? Yes, but my school was offering pizza to teachers that had subbed and saying no to free food is really another life challenge that I haven’t yet conquered. Also, do I think that dairy and gluten are a problem in my life? Maybe. Probably. So what this trial allowed me to see was that I don’t need those things every day at every meal. There are other foods and food is medicine.
The way that relates to teaching angst riddled youth is that I thrive with a specific challenge and I need that challenge in my face, in my way. I just need someone to tell me what to do and I’ll do it and I’ll give it 95% because I’m realistic. If someone told me to stop eating so much almond butter, I could. I lived in Spain for 2 years and never had a spoonful, and here I am, doing a jar a week.
I’m probably well enough to go workout, and if my former trainer was in my ear he would tell me that I am a Scandinavian warrior and I love that because I love compliments. The other day someone told me that my Spanish was great (my job) and sure part of me felt like maybe I should be insulted because I’ve been working to master it for over half of my life and it’s what I do everyday to varying degrees of success, but I took that compliment and cherished it and let it spread through me like a warm spoonful of butter.
In other visual news, Campbell is a baller and also 2 years old.
Barre and cycling at SALT has also become a medium big part of my life. Over 3 months I’ve gone like 7 times because it’s really awesome but kinda $$. Also trying to grow beyond my superior health and wellness kick into something more of a have fun, go easy on yourself, la la la kind of thing.
And finally, closing out year 5, approximately 7 skin shades lighter due to the sun being very much absent in Chicago, and also heavily filtered to block out my mostly tired look. It feels great to say that I’ve gotten over those first year hurdles, and this was probably the year that I cried the least (0-3 times) about school related issues. Blessings.
Summer of Emma 2.0 coming soon,