When you think about the teachers who made a difference in your life, whose manner, messages and presence continues to influence the learning spark inside you, don't you wonder how they managed to do it? To be "on" day in and day out in front of a group of people is almost impossible to fathom, and that's what it takes to be the kind of facilitator who inspires students. Their enthusiasm for the subject matter as well as their desire to spark the fire in the hearts and minds of their brood of students must waver from time to time, but somehow they keep it tucked inside while shining on. Sadly, our educational system is littered with more ho-hums and burn outs than passion.
Every time I step into the classroom to teach, my respect and appreciation for the passionate instructors re-ignites. It gives me that unique opportunity to stand in their shoes and to recognize just how difficult it would be to engage like that for an extended period of time. They deserve far more that what we pay them, and earn every single summer day off.
The type of facilitating I'm involved in however is different because it has a short beginning and end, which allows for me to burst with energy rather than find an ebb and flow pace one would need to survive for an extended period of time. In order to be in a classroom every single day, you'd have to find a completely different balance or you would burn out so quickly. It's been 20 years since I pulled off full time teaching. I loved it then. Thrived even. At that point in my life I was in a much different place in my life...... no children, MUCH younger, less responsibility outside of the classroom. I wonder if I could pull it off now. I wonder if I'd like to.
This is where I am in my thinking tonight as I sit here reflecting on just how exhausted I was at the end of the workday. For the past two days I taught a program called "Non Violent Crisis Intervention." It's a "canned" program designed to be delivered exactly how its laid out in a manual. With the trademark terms and the specific techniques leading the learning, its the kind of training I find the most demanding, because it leaves very little wiggle room to facilitate with the kind of freedom I prefer.
Usually after I wrap up a workshop I'm pumped. Tired, but pumped. Instead, I came home tonight completely void of any energy. I felt used up and wordless..... not a good thing when you have loved ones in your life who deserve more than a person whose only focus is on finding a good comfortable spot on the couch to crash into lalala land. Ok, I fed them first. But, I did it in silence. Then, I crashed.......slept through the early evening time when I should be focus on my family.
Granted, I'm just getting over a cold and I have so many other thoughts pulsating inside my head vying for my focused attention. I was also teaching a topic I wasn't too keen on or felt completely competent with the subject matter. Still, I wonder if I would be up for the challenge of taking on a classroom of learners full time. It's difficult to say. As much as I love teaching, the other component one has to consider is how taxing it is on one's freedom. Though the counselling I am involved in on most days is intensely draining and there is little down time, I have control over my schedule. Leading a group of students through a full program is very structured time wise. Would I be able to surrender those reins at this point in my life? Would I want to?
I think I would like my cake and eat it too. Half time counselling, half time in the classroom. The way I see it, this combination would be the ideal fit for me. I could see how it would balance as well as challenge my skills. OH, who am I kidding. If I had my choice? I'd be rich enough not to have to work full time in any form of structured environment. I would write, travel, teach when I wanted to, counsel when I wanted to. And if I wanted to walk endlessly beside the calm tide of a warm body of water, I'd do that too................. Friends and family? Please join me. :) The first round of umbrella drinks is on me.