Sunday, September 11, 2011

Read, Pray, Rest

Today in church this morning, I felt that the sermon was directed just towards me because it was exactly what I needed to hear! In a time where I am busier than I have ever been and more anxious than I have ever been, I needed to hear how important it is to read my bible, give my fears/stresses to the Lord, and rest in fullness of Christ.

To me it seems that all my posts have had a "debbie downer" feel and I really hate that, but the point of me writing this blog is so that I will always remember how I felt during this first year of teaching. (Please don't feel bad if you want to stop reading!!) I want to look back and remember how hard it was and (hopefully) compare it to how much better it is in the future. I have had so many people give me encouragement, and that has been wonderful. But at the same time, it really bothers me when I have all of these people giving me advice and telling me how I can do my job "better." Do they not realize that I am doing the best that I can with the time, money, and resources that I am given? Do they not realize that everything they are saying to me, I have already said to myself a million times? Do they not realize that they are making me feel even worse because I know that I should be doing more, but it's not physically/mentally/emotionally possible? No, they don't realize any of that, so I take their advice and plaster a smile on my face. I know that they mean well, but what I really want is someone who will listen and just be their for me. I am so thankful that I have Amy, who is also a first year teacher and one of my best friends. When we talk, my heart is refreshed because everything she says, I feel the same way! It is awesome to have someone who knows exactly what I am going through and exactly what I am feeling. I have had others who have done exactly what I wished- they listened to me, loved me, and just encouraged me. A huge thank you goes to- my Mama, Rebekah, Amy Dubose, Lacey, and Dr. Mulhollen. I remember conversations that I have had (or at least comments through Facebook), and I really appreciate all that you have said! :)

I had considered not writing this on my blog because I didn't want to be "dramatic" and play for people's sympathy, but I decided to write it so that I will remember it. This past week I had an anxiety attack in my sleep. It was absolutely horrible and nothing like I have ever experienced. For those of you out there who deal with anxiety attacks on a daily basis, you have my prayers! I woke up at 3:30am shaking, shivering, sweating, feeling like I was going to vomit, and it hurt to move. I was so confused at what was going on because I was in between a state of sleep and being awake. It felt like my nervous system was being attacked. I thought maybe I had the flu, but I didn't have fever and it felt different than that. I then started having vivid nightmares about different things happening at school. It was like I couldn't wake myself up enough to stop the nightmares, and I couldn't stop any of the symptoms. It felt like I was this way for about 3 hours, but in reality it was probably only 3 minutes. I then fell back into a fitful sleep and woke up that morning looking terrible, but really not sure what had happened earlier that morning. At school I was telling a teacher about this bizarre experience that I went through, and she immediately told me that I had an anxiety attack because she got them all the time as a 1st year teacher. As she started explaining, it made more sense to me and I agreed that I had an anxiety attack. I do not think that there was one specific instance that brought on the attack, I think it was more the fact that I have been in a state of anxiousness for weeks. I have never had anything like this happen before, so it is all new to me. I am very much a Type-A personality, I like things in order, I like to be good at what I am doing, and I like to feel good about the job I am doing. Well that pretty much has gone out the window! I feel like I am doing a horrible job. I am doing everything that I can possibly do, but it is only the bare minimum. Do you realize how horrible it feels to know that you are only doing the bare minimum, but there is no way to change it? Well to me its the worst feeling ever. I am trying SO hard and doing everything I can do, but it is not enough. I am terrified before the beginning of each week. I go to work and am going a mile a minute until the kids leave, and then I am doing stuff for the next day. There is no time to be creative, to do much differentiating instruction, to pull kids for one-on-one, etc. Honestly, my kids do a lot of worksheets right now (which I HATE, and I know its a huge NO-NO in the teaching world), but it is all I have time to do because I have a million other things that I am figuring out. I am not really sure how to stop this process.

Thankfully people that I talk to tell me that all of this is normal, and that as a first year teacher you can't do much else except the bare minimum. I do believe that I am doing the best that I can, and I do believe that my kids are getting a better education than some. Do I want to be feeling anxious and stressed out all of the time, NO, but I do know that it will get better. I can do my part by putting my trust and fear in the Lord, and I know that I will have peace. I do have exciting times in the classroom when my kids are learning and doing what they are supposed to be doing. In my heart I know that I am doing exactly what I am called to do, and that is going to have to be enough for me right now. :)

If you read all of that, you deserve a medal!

I will leave you with some funny things that my students have said or done:

-"Ms. Stentiford, I want to give you this rock necklace because when I saw the rock, I thought of you!"

-On Wednesday, two of my girls got in trouble while they were in library. I had them both write apology notes to the library teacher, Mrs. Watley. When I looked over one of them, this is what I saw:

I am sorry for what I did. I won't do it again.
From, K

I cracked up when I saw that she addressed it to "Watley" and not "Mrs. Watley!"

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