More of this kind of teaching…which is the awesome kind!
This past summer, when I was an English teacher in Taiwan, we held summer camps for our students. They were different than what I’d done previously, and I was nervous. Really, really nervous. My friend and I who would be teaching them agonized for days over our lessons, practicing and revising and practicing and revising until it had become this giant issue. We talked about classes a lot. We stressed. We pigged out on food since we were stressed. It didn’t help that we had to give a preview of our classes to the teachers who then gave us an evaluation.
My point is that for the duration of the summer camps, I acted like they were the most important thing in the world and that it would be dreadful if they weren’t perfect. I can’t tell you how often I freaked out about a class that didn’t go well or how it could be improved. It was the ONLY thing that mattered at the time, and neither of us could wait until it was over. We couldn’t enjoy it.
But you know what? As soon as we were done, it didn’t matter anymore. None of the teachers mentioned how we could have done better, the kids all had fun, and once I got home, I couldn’t care less. Thinking back on it now, it was such a tiny thing, but it was so huge at the time. Honestly, I think it’s a bit funny how seriously we did take it. If only we could have seen how little it truly mattered. If only we could have focused more on having fun with the kids and spending time with them, rather than how well our classes went.
I have to keep reminding myself of this because it happens to me all the time. I’m sure it happens to most people. Of course there are things that do matter and are vastly important – like marriage. But right now I’m stressing out about college – not about getting done, because I know I will do that – but doing well. Sure, it’s a great goal, but it can’t overtake my life. I want to be a translator, and having gotten all A’s in school probably won’t help me there. Fluency in a language will. Prospective job employers rarely look at grades, right? They see you have a diploma and this much experience, so great.
In my journey of life (I sound so cool right now, eh?) I’ve learned a lot, especially recently. Things that seem overwhelming and life-changing aren’t always that important. The problem, the class, the job, the project, the whatever that is keeping you down and stressing you out probably won’t matter in a few years. Or it might – who knows? But analyze it before you start sacrificing sleep, peaceful enjoyment, and well-being for it. Few things are really worth that.
And remember; “I tried so hard, and got so farrrrrrr…but in the endddd, it doesn’t even matter….” (Sorry, just had to.)