feeling the weight of power

man raising right hand
Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

Power is the thing we crave,

We strive for the keys and the clipboard,

To walk the shop floor in a suit,

Picking out things that look slightly wrong,

A tine that is dented, a browning banana,

And with a click of the fingers it’s fixed.

But the day that the keys are placed in your hands,

Marks the moment when life will see change,

And for those with a doubt lodged in their heart,

That power can fester and eat you alive.

When I was doing my teacher training last year, I was about half way through when I hit a real low moment. And I was reminded of it today because I felt an echo of that feeling; not as strong, but still rather uncomfortable.

The day in question, I had a bad lesson with some Year 9 students and the teacher that was observing me pulled me up on my behaviour management. I was fine with everything that she said to me, until she told me that I deserved respect from the kids and they hadn’t given me any during that lesson.

She must have hit a nerve that I didn’t even know was raw and exposed because I just burst into tears on her. And it wasn’t a few delicate tears rolling down my cheeks; it was full on sobbing and struggling to catch my breath.

I remember the thought that ran through my mind was ‘I don’t deserve respect from anyone. I am only worth my job at the petrol station and that is where I will have to go back to at the end of this training.’

It was a horrible thought and it was all consuming. And I felt a little bit of that today. There was no sobbing but I wavered when some students were really rude to me. I felt like I deserved to be treated that way.

After 36 years of being in the lowest paid jobs where nobody respects you (sadly), it’s going to take me quite some time to really believe that I am worthy of respect.

If you are struggling to believe in yourself, I’m here with you. I’m hoping it’s just a case of practice makes perfect – because that negative voice in my head is really spiteful!

Much Love

Rachel xx

8 thoughts on “feeling the weight of power

  1. clcouch123

    It’s smart and real to write about and tussle with respect. As a teacher not teaching at present, I still have bad dreams about classes that don’t respond except derisively. To an extent, respect is a matter of context. I did better in college (university) because there was a community- and institution-wide understanding that respect is a means in the classroom. That the financial investment in tuition behooves respect if only not to waste time, though also because what is presented is (should be) foundational to life when this school time is done. In secondary school, it is the same context though this is not shared and supported as it should be. Frankly, the leadership, boards, and frankly the electorate and public at large should be on the side of teachers in this. Not that there can’t be bad teachers, but the dedicated faculty–and you are one–should be supported and encouraged. There, down from the box in Hyde Park, now.

    1. patientandkindlove

      Haha, a real Speakers’ Corner rant. I think that the fact education is free means that a lot of the families on lower incomes don’t seem to see the value in it. And that does make our job increasingly more difficult.

      1. clcouch123

        Yes, too true. If something free is perceived having no value (for being free), how does one change that attitude? I don’t know. Start charging for it or take it away for a while. With regard to education, either alternative seems frightful.

  2. Margot Kinberg

    I’m sorry that you’ve had a difficult time believing in yourself. You are worthy of respect, and you deserve it. It’s very hard to remember that at those low times, but it is true. You are a worthy person and a a hard-working, dedicated teacher who is learning to be the best. That is not easy to do. And you’ve beaten back so many demons in your life. That, too, is difficult, but you accomplish it every day. Remember: treat yourself with respect and insist on it from others, and you will model for your students how to be confident in themselves, rather than rely on bravado and insults to feel better about themselves.

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