This weekend's topic was to write about something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad). Blogging during the weekends does not happen normally, so I wanted to share this post now.
Good: This is really simple but it has stuck with me for the last 12 years or so. It was when Dale (now my hubby) and I first started to become friends. He was going on his yearly trip to Kansas for the summer, and I remember feeling sad about it. Dale would talk about all these wonderful memories of Kansas, and how he was friends with everyone at his Aunt’s church. It sounded too good to be true, so I assumed he would go visit and decide to never come back. After talking about my silly worries, I remember soon after that Dale gave me something to ease my mind. (And yes, that was also the same day when I had my first-ever kiss, but that’s another story….). Sometime before he left on his trip, Dale informed me that I need to quit worrying. There was a long spiel about the topic. I don’t remember the exact conversation but I know Dale had some good insight into how my personality reacts to situations and it really helped to talk about it. Days before he left on the trip, he gave me a folded-up piece of paper. It had a pencil-drawn circle taking up the entire sheet. On the bottom of the paper was written, “As soon as this circle ends, is when God is not there.” It was simple but sweet. A good reminder to rely on God and know that I am not alone (which went along with the conversation we had). Dale knew I was struggling with the idea of letting God be in complete control in many areas of my life. Still a good reminder to this day :)
Bad: It’s pretty bad when a handful of thoughts pop up right away. I will share a few and not go into too much detail because I want this post to reflect mainly on the positive side. I remember when I was in 5th grade and a peer ran up to me at recess and called me a “Jap”(I only use this term in reference to what the boy had said). This was the first time I ever heard this word but the immediate feeling it gave me was shame—I was ashamed at myself for being half-Japanese. Not many people know this, but from that day on it took me a long time to admit to others that I had two middle names (one is a Japanese name). I would only admit to having a “normal” middle name. It’s sad that a little 5th grade boy could make me feel so embarrassed and ashamed when he was the one with the problem. It probably was not until high school when I took credit for my ENTIRE self and took pride in who I am.
Another example of someone saying something bad to me was when I was a first-year teacher. Most of the year I felt the support from my coworkers and the principal of the school. Every one was very helpful. Then the last few months of teaching, the principal observed me and gave me some feedback. The result was harsh and I was told that I will never amount to being like the veteran teachers, especially during my first year. Being compared to veteran teachers seemed unfair. It also made me feel inadequate as a first-year teacher and made me doubt myself. There were other things said that I mentioned was out of my control and that the school did not provide me with that particular training (I was hired 2 weeks into the school year…and the other teachers were trained before school started). Going through education classes, I was always taught to be constructive when giving criticism and include good things too. There was NOTHING good mentioned about what I did or how the class was doing. I was even told that she did not feel welcomed into my classroom. That hurt. I think I was so focused on making sure my class seemed perfect (I know it’s silly) that I neglected going out of my way to make her feel welcomed. I was moreso focused on my students… This was my first attempt at a “real” job and was my dream since 6th grade. I always wanted to be a teacher that inspires and cares for her students. I left that job feeling down on myself and still do. I will admit that most of the year was a game of “does this work or does that work?”. Although I went through lots of schooling and had interned in classrooms for 6 years, nothing prepares you for your first class. Sure, I could have done things differently (20/20 hindsight), and wish I had the energy to keep up with engaging activities all the time. It’s still a pretty fresh “wound” that I am learning to work through and am learning the difference between constructive criticism vs. someone just being a bully. I’m also working on trying to not feel like a failure because there are still days I get down on myself. All my friends and family that know the full story, also tell me that I was lied to throughout the year and it was easy to throw me under the bus as a new, naïve teacher. One day I will return to teaching and will take all of this hurt and confusion and turn it into something good. If anything, it just makes me want to do even better, to prove that I can do it!