You come back, alert, alive and with a new sense of confidence. "Hey", you muse, "perhaps the research has something to it!" A month goes by. Then it hits you. Again. Those biting thoughts, the sinking sensation that you should have done that lesson, or that series of lessons, much differently - more preparation needed! The level of frustration you reached during that Science investigation, it shouldn't have spiked - the kids needed more practice and more structure in group work! Individual behaviors, that may have been evident at a more microscopic level before, begin to blow up to the macroscopic; you're constantly considering how to address each, wondering if you're showing enough balance of compassion and assertiveness all the while.
Before you know it, you find yourself on the 6-hour-a-night sleep schedule again; if you're anything like me, this just isn't enough. Sleep is my achilles heel; trespass one too many times, and down comes the immune system. This was why, on Friday morning, I came crawling home with aches from head to toe, bed-bound on the first weekend in quite a while in which I had actually had outside plans. Boo. I call this cycle, the new teacher's plight.
But don't mistake me - there is no sense crying or stamping a foot. As bottomed-out as I felt this past week, I know this is one small mole hill that I must hop amongst mountains of challenge. Plight does rhyme with flight, after all (a happy coincidence?). A plight-induced flight. An opportunity for growth. Another chance to stare illusionary fears in the face and dismantle each one by detaching from my mental worries and looking at the facts, as much as is possible. What areas am I concerned about? Lesson planning, managing individual behaviors, etc.? What are the variables that need to change in order to get (hopefully) better results? Let me map them out. Who and where should I go for help? This last one can be difficult for some, as it is for me - never underestimate the power of asking others for their help or ideas.
One last little thought seed before I tuck in for the evening with a bowl of chicken noodle soup: I wouldn't characterize myself as a Buddhist, but I do lean towards many philosophies and practices. Tonglen is the idea that you take in and receive everything that comes your way - the good and the bad. You breathe in the light and the dark; you feel both, through and through, without judgment, knowing this sensation is not limited to 'you' - these feelings are a more complete picture of what all human beings experience in a lifetime. You are connected to something much greater than yourself. Then, you breathe back out light. Take initiative, take action. Your approach doesn't have to be perfect, since there is no such thing. Just try something new, try again. Flight over plight.