Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Trusting God--Conquering Depression-- 8
Notice Jonah’s reaction. I tried to word his dialogue to reflect the stages of grief. Any time we’re going through a trying time (death, chronic or terminal illness, job loss, etc.), we go through these stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You may switch Stages 2-4 around or even repeat them before finally getting to the last stage of acceptance.
To help me get out of my depression, my counselor suggested that I needed to “mourn” so that I could reach acceptance. She suggested that I put all of the sweet notes that I've received from students in a book. That depressed me even more because after 30 years, I didn't have any! She suggested that I write my feelings in a journal and then bury or burn it as a symbol that that part of my life was over. I thought that was stupid. Finally, about nine months after my fall and not being able to return to teaching, I decided that it was time to “clean up.” I took down my framed National Board Teacher Certification and put it away. I didn't need it anymore. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a National Certification that was started by a former governor of North Carolina. Attaining that level was supposed to mean that you were a master teacher. To me, it meant a 12% pay increase as well. Then I went to my computer. With a couple of keystrokes, I deleted all of my school files. With a few more strokes, I deleted all of my files from my National Board Certification. I cried. That certification was the culmination of nearly 30 years of experience. Thirty years…..I did the math. I've taught over 5,000 students in my lifetime. I prayed that I had made a positive difference in some of their lives. I thought of students who inspired me and challenged me to be a better teacher. I wondered what happened to them. I thought of how old they’d be now and really felt old. I thought of students who were lazy and wouldn't even try and I just couldn't reach. I thought of students that I really didn't like (God’s gift to women kind of attitude and who were determined to cheat). I thought of students who weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer but just beamed when they finally “got it.” I thought of how happy I was when that happened. I thought of the laughter and wisdom of fellow teachers. I remembered my first year of teaching. At age 20, I knew that I didn't know everything, but I was appalled when an “ancient” teacher said that she could just look in the students’ eyes and know what kind of grade they would get. Guess what….now I can do that. I thought of teachers who I've mentored and felt good knowing that maybe I can influence even more students though their teaching. …So, I hit the delete button. That was the end of 30 years. I didn't bury anything or burn anything. I did what best suited me…I hit delete. But, that doesn't mean that my whole life has been deleted. There’s still things for me to do that I can do—just do a little differently though.