A Rollercoaster of Emotions
If you are leaving the classroom; if you’ve: escaped, left, walked - whichever way you want to look at it, you are about to have a rollercoaster of emotions.
Many think it is simply going to be a sense of relief, a euphoria and then having stepped off the cliff, you float across to the next stage of your life and it is an extremely enviable position to be in.
In many ways it is but you will have high highs and low lows because teaching isn’t a job - it is a vocation and underpinning your relief will be grief. That grief will surface.
There will be a sense of loss, a period of nostalgia - in which you reflect on the whole of your career.
The joy of securing your first job and the interview itself.
Remembering your first classroom, and knowing that you can still remember every inch of it.
Memorable children's faces.
Residential school trips, superb Christmas do’s.
Great colleagues and friends who have become so important to you. Some you may have lost along the way.
That is perfectly natural.
But then from that loss and grief - your anger may start to surface about why you’ve had to leave something you loved so very much.
You may fixate upon individual members of staff who you blame for the reasons that your position became untenable.
From that may surface bitterness - it’s hard to let that go. You are immersed in your nostalgic feelings of loss interspersed with blaming someone or something for taking it away from you.
That can be quite a potent phase.
Then there will be days where you feel guilt, especially if you are no longer working 70 hours a week because that’s been the norm and actually a work life balance takes some acclimatising to.
If you now have free time on your hands you will have a natural propensity to fill it.
Stopping to smell the roses, living in the present takes some doing, to really appreciate your time without attaching guilt.
You may even struggle with what to call yourself! Not being able to justifiably use the word ‘teacher’ to validate your existence can actually throw some people into a flat spin.
So here are just a few things that can be used as a tool kit to help you in the transition period, if you need it.
Have a gratitude journal at the side of your bed and before you put your feet on the floor every morning, write down 10 things you are grateful for.
Even if it is the softness of the duvet that is keeping you warm, - it is difficult to experience any of the above emotions if your overwhelming emotion is gratitude.
That is a fact!
Keep a constant attitude of gratitude in your head and your practice; it will lift your mood.
Go onto YouTube, search and scroll through guided meditation.
There is a guided meditation for practically every aspect of your life, a guided meditation for exactly what you need.
Browse through them, experiment with them until you find a meditation for you that centres your mood and helps your mental health and well-being.
Meditate for about 15 mins four times a day.
This will decrease but in the first instance it will be a life saver.
Spend time in nature, choose one of the busiest periods of your old life-normally about 11 am.
Go outside and reflect with gratitude - how far you have come and make a constant positive contrast to where you are now.
You are still a teacher, and you can use that title for as long as you want.
Alternatives can be:
Self employed teacher
Freacher (free teacher)
But make a note of the point when you no longer care, that is when you will start to heal.
So, find your joy.
Do something you love. Make sure when you exit you do all the things you dreamed of doing when you were in the classroom.
Remember that everything does pass so embrace it or endure it - safe in the knowledge that you will be alright.