Diaries of a #transitioningteacher: I feel guilty that I feel bored teaching.

Dear Diary,

There. I said it.

I’m bored. As an art teacher, I feel bored. I’m teaching everyone else how to be creative throughout the day and it leaves no time for my own creativity.

Creatively speaking, I’m bored.

That’s just the beginning. And you know what? I have been afraid to say that out loud, but I know I have to because you might be feeling it, too.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

So what’s really going on?

If you’ve been reading my blog, I’ve shared parts of my #teachertransition. That’s right. I am a transitioning art teacher. I want to do something else with my life.

Today, I have some confessions to make.

Here I go.

I remember the days after I graduated with another MAEd (a result of needing to feel like I could control something in my life). I literally sat at my laptop and typed into the search: What can teachers do outside of the classroom? What can teachers do with a teaching certification?

Because I had no idea.

When I graduated from college and started teaching, I thought I would retire after 30-35 years teaching art. I didn’t prepare for the growth trajectory that led me to here.

In a deep nutshell, I burned out in 2018. A perfect storm of personal and professional stuff wrecked my mental and emotional self, and I lost control. It was decades in the making, but I didn’t know it at the time. It wasn’t the first time I felt out of control. The first time – unknowingly – was after my parents divorced. At that time, I decided that school, achievements, and recognition equaled value and ultimately the belief that I was loved. So I became a teacher so I could achieve, be recognized, feel valued and loved. Oh yeah, and survive life.

I told you it was a deep nutshell.

When I enrolled in a second master’s degree, it was because I knew that I could contribute to the growth of other art teachers. I really needed that validation because I wasn’t feeling valued as a teacher. That had rippled into everything else. It made me feel seen. It made me feel heard. It made me feel valued. And value meant love.

That degree kickstarted my healing and led to self awareness.

For years, I knew I wanted to work with adults, but the add-on leadership positions just weren’t cutting it. They were what I needed at the time though.

Fast forward to 2021. Just graduated with another degree. Wondering what the heck was next because I wasn’t feeling it anymore.

Despite knowing I would get criticized by my colleagues, I went to my curriculum director and asked her for advice. I told her my secret: I wanted out of the classroom. What I really wanted to know was, Am I crazy? Thankfully, she validated me and where I was in my professional journey. Sometimes you grow beyond the four walls of the classroom, and that’s okay…that’s the lesson I held onto from our conversation.

This is what I needed to hear.

There were people in my inner circle telling me that I was going through a phase. It was the pandemic – that’s all. Soon it would be over and I would be excited to teach art once again.

Nope.

I changed grade levels. Going from teaching middle and high school to elementary was a blessing, but also a bandaid. I went from one school and a large classroom to teaching hundreds of kids at 3 schools and sharing instructional spaces, even traveling on a cart and teaching in a library and gym. If I can be honest, I am not a fan of teaching art in those last two spaces, but I’m thankful I have a space nonetheless.

Let me bring you back to the chat with my curriculum director. Thank goodness for her. If you can find someone who cheers for you, keep them close to you. After talking with my cheerleader, I started exploring and dreaming.

The summer was dedicated to figuring out what the heck I would do with my life after teaching. I devoured podcasts, audio books, and started opening up to others.

When I started the next school year, I definitely knew that I was meant for something outside of the classroom, but still searched for what it was.

And then, by divine intervention, my sister-in-law sent me information about an NLP Master Practitioner Certification course for life coaching. What the hell is life coaching? I signed up for a consultation anyway.

Divine intervention. That’s what it was. There’s no other way to describe it.

My coaching program began at the same time my mom passed. Again, divine intervention (weird, but true).

My coach/instructor/mentor coached us first before starting the actual program to certify us as NLP Master Practitioners. Another blessing. Because I was grieving, I had also come to the place where I knew that my childhood and my relationship with my mom really messed me up, but I had no idea how to move beyond it.

NLP showed me how.

Geesh…this sounds like a long story. It is. Or maybe a sales pitch. It isn’t.

I loved my therapist, and I knew I made progress with her, but NLP coaching – it was like the last secret number in the combination lock.

I learned how to become free from my past.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What does this have to do with being bored as an art teacher?

Earlier I told you why I chose to teach in the first place. Ultimately, it made me feel valued and gave me the sense of love.

After I processed why I chose teaching in the first place, things changed.

I realized that teaching was self-serving (it helped me feel loved).

Now I want to serve others (I know I am loved).

This creates some discord.

As I return to the classroom, the traditional four walls that defined me for decades, I know that I have gifts and strengths that serve others in a way that teaching how to create artwork doesn’t satisfy anymore.

I feel so many things right now.

Boredom – how will I challenge myself?

Demoralized – how can my strengths truly be leveraged to serve adults in a classroom setting with children?

Familiarity – I have been an art teacher for a long time, so where can I find inspiration? How can I tap into my old self?

Frustrated – I know where I want to be in my professional career, but I’m not there yet.

Excited – I am meeting so many new people and creating opportunities as I step into my new career. It’s a WIP (work-in-progress – artist talk).

Imagine an iceberg. I’m sharing what you can see. The rest is underwater. This time around, I am supported by a team of coaches, empowering me to move forward despite the challenges.

It takes an army you know.

That’s it for now, diary…until next time.

Where are you in your professional and personal journey?

Who are your cheerleaders?

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