I just recently turned 40 and am currently in my 19th year of teaching. It just struck me that I have now been an educator for almost half of my life! I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl and every decision I made about my future was a step towards achieving that dream. I never even considered any other career and I have never regretted it for a minute. There have been amazing moments and really, really difficult days, but I truly have a passion for my job and consider myself so lucky to love what I do.
On Friday, my principal came to see me personally to tell me I was nominated for a very prestigious award. I was so in shock, so honored, so flattered, so overwhelmed. But, I didn’t want to tell anyone, even though the majority of my best friends are teachers at my same school. I was almost embarrassed and didn’t want to seem like I was bragging. I called my mom (who acted like I won an Academy Award- she was so excited) and she told me I was being silly not to share the good news with my friends. I am also not the type to shout good (or bad) news from the mountaintop. I did end up sending a group text and they all congratulated me, which was very sweet.
I have felt like a failure a lot in my personal life, from my dysfunctional childhood to my strained relationship with my dad to my struggles with anxiety to my marriage and subsequent divorce, I feel like I suck at life sometimes. The one area where I have always succeeded and felt confident is in my career. I have won other local teaching awards and I know I am respected in my school. But honestly, underneath all the excitement of this amazing nomination, there was a thought in the back of my mind..”why me?”…”I don’t deserve that”…”I won’t win that”. I know I work hard and I care SO much about teaching, but I still felt…undeserving.
I wrote a blog around the time of my 40th birthday where I reflected on my fear that no one would come to my birthday party (which of course they all did). I shared that fear with my sister and she said to me, “you do nice things for everyone else and are so thoughtful and generous, why do you think no one wants to do that for you?” and it is because I felt…undeserving. Why would anyone want to celebrate ME? I don’t have really low self-esteem, but I think there is some aspect of my childhood that is tucked deep into my brain that makes me feel like I am not good enough. I guess that is common for children of alcoholics. Maybe my 12 year old self felt like if I was good enough maybe my dad wouldn’t drink?
I am very excited and honored about this nomination and I am going to really try to push those negative feelings away and focus on being happy about it, because deep down under those thoughts of not being good enough, I KNOW I am a good teacher who truly cares about her students.