vrijdag 28 september 2012
Dancing In The Rain
The fourth week of September came to an end and Stallie is very tempted to call it a very early night. At the end of a work week I always sense how my body was pushed to its limits. I did change some things since changing jobs like going to bed a bit earlier then I used to. Not that it always is the guarantee that I will sleep like a rose but it does seem to help me to get the end of a work week in one piece.
Not that the month of September at the previous work spot wasn't hard to deal with. I bet that many teachers out there feel like they are run over by a monster truck. The workload already has reached a certain amount that is hard to express in figures. Guess it is part of the job description. When I signed up for the job I was prepared for what was heading my way but still...
Today two people asked me some crucial questions that I wish to answer out here. Yes, they matter in how I try to be the 'new' teacher/teacher assistant. Because I am fully aware of the fact that there might some people out there who wonder why in the world I wanted that different job challenge instead of the job security that I was granted. Yes, I am fully aware that I had to give up some priveledges in order to be granted access to the international educational world I now live whithin during office hours. A world that I longed for. But I am fully aware of what some people wonder when they question about me wanting to change.
First question that I was asked during happy hour and enjoying a well deserved Kriek:'Isn't it hard not being the teacher anymore?' Well, it might sound a bit surprising to many of you: no!! On paper I am teaching assistant and my job description states the many tasks that involves. In reality I end up doing much more then the paper says. My boss does care about what I think and she tries to get me fully involved when it comes down to teaching the kids. My suggestions and ideas are welcome and I already had some unforgetable fun moments in class! So in a way it is not that hard but I am fully aware that it is sometimes a thin line between being the TA or the teacher once I enter a class room.
Second question someone asked me in an e- mail:are the pupils not a bit too smal for your liking? Well, yes that was something I was wondering myself. After 14 years of dealing with puberty in class rooms I did wonder if I was ready to enter the world of the primary school pupil. But the transition goes a bit smoother then I hoped for. The furniture is smaller and the classroom posters are more colorful but other then that it seems that I adopt easily.
Stallie must be then constantly zen and in 7th heaven, you might think. No, I am not because Stallie is fully aware of how easily she slipps back into old habits or even suddenly faces an old 'monster'. And that happened twice this week in some very crucial spots of my existence.
Once it happened in my car when I drove back home after finding out that I had forgotten my gym bag and was assistant coach netball after school. No way that I was going to do that in office clothes. So I decided to drive back home the moment I got at work and ended up in the disasterous morning traffic. I then went through all the emotions that I so many times dealt with when still was working at my former school. Stallie changed into a voodoo doll and she produced tears. My heart beat went up and I started to sweat. My mind was racing and I knew that the rest of the day I was going to be a lost case. That I would be running behind my own shadow and that many things would go wrong or not according to plan. I even wondered how in the world I ever managed to survive that many rides to and from work in the past at this paste.
The second time it happened on Monday evening while sweat was rolling down my spine and my head looked as red as the color of my ballet leotard. It was only a year ago that I had decided to go back into that ballet studio and trying to move my body along with Mozart and Vivaldi. Last 12 months I had a very nice time rediscovering my ballet past. Monday evening became the evening that when I slipped into my ballet shoes that I did lock out everything and everybody and granted myself a gigantic dance therapy session. It was like homecoming and on top of that did I made some new friends out there in front of the mirror and was suddenly not scared anymore to make some decissions.
But last Monday I was back in that one spot where I have been for 10 long years and it was pitch dark. My mind went totaly blank and my body suddenly refused to move along with the music. Nothing made sense anymore and I felt so out of place that it hurt. My whole body communicated pain. That my ballet teacher seem to know only one name and that I was the lucky one I did not consider a compliment either. Freezing cold I was while the temperature was raising in that room full of mirrors and light.
It is very hard to describe what then goes on in my mind but I suddenly wondered what I was trying to do amongst all these very athletic looking young women who are able to jump very high and make every complex movement look rather simple. Stallie wanted to run out, hide behind the shower curtain in the corner while a warm water would hit her face. I wanted to get out of that space where I have to let go completely and passing myself over to a certain force that makes me rather vulnerable.
My fence was back up and I was so negative that I even started to panic and skipped certain exercises. I even felt intimated by some of the new faces. That I was the only one not wearing black made me even stand out more. Panic and anxiety took over and yes I wanted to ask for a refund. No way that I did belong in that room!
Funny how the brain works and takes you by surprise. Because I had not been prepared for it to happen again. So there I was standing again at that crossroad and was granted the opportunity to make a choice: stay and keep on trying and holding up my head high or leave and storing away those ballet shoes in a box in the attic and banishing dancing forever. I had done it before and slipped already once into a world where dancing had no right of existence. No walz, salsa or twist anymore to make my feet move and letting my body take over from mind.
What made me stay and jumping back into line? Well, perhaps that I made some promises to myself that I want to keep. Dancing is one high up on that list and I then decided to push out Darth Vader and let then my ballet shoes be ballet shoes. Letting the change that I was facing because it seems that it is at ballet school that I have the hardest time dealing with that or is it there that it hits me and I become fully aware of what I am going through for the moment.
Because let us be honest yes I miss my old work spot and the pupils I have been working with. Yes, I miss my familiar classroom and the staff that I did hang out with for so many years. After all I am only human and I do need some time to come to terms with the changes that I made. I then also made an other promise this week while I was spending some time in front of a copy machine and that I had some time to reflect on my past:'I am never going to forget where I came from.' After all that one spot did shape me partly and has taught me some very important facts and not only about teaching. No, also about life in general. Does this come to you as a surprise? Not to me after last Monday.
When I then last Thursday walked into a classroom and saw a certain poster (see the picture here above) I fully understood what message it tried to get across. Because after all dancing in the rain is something that requires a lot of skills and practice. It also involves letting go and trying to look a the pleasant and positive side of something that only seems to have negative effects. For the ones who know Stallie quite well know what rain can do to her. Not a pretty side and yes it does equal what she did look like that Monday night at the barre.
It was then I knew for 200% that dancing in the 'rain' will make me a stronger person even when it means that I might have a hard time. But perhaps a pair of some colorful wellies might cheer up my dancing in the thunderstroms that might be heading my way. If you care to join me then don't hesitate because the dance floor is big enough for two of us. Or any number that is.
PS: I did not go for the classic one but rather for this modern version of dancing in the rain. I did play this song over and over at a certain moment in my life. Madonna also changes frequently and I wonder if you even remember that she did look like this.