I’ll tell you something. This blog started like a message in a bottle – I released it not knowing where it would end up. It felt exciting. Maybe it would never be seen by the eyes of another. Maybe it would. That idea was kind of scary. How would it feel to know that somebody read these raw thoughts about something we are made to feel so secretive and shameful about? I was doing it to feel better.
I read other people’s blogs. I don’t really think about people reading my words. Not like that. So it is a lovely surprise to see that someone has read something I’ve shared and even nicer that they’ve taken the time to name me personally 🙂 So thank you, bnewvision, for the honour. What drew me to Denise’s blog was her clear stance on breaking the silence, standing in her truth and moving forward. I find that inspiring and encouraging.
There are some rules that are associated with the award, so here goes…
Acknowledge the person who has nominated you and post their link to your page … check
Post the Award on your page … check
Share seven things about yourself … It’s coming…
Nominate some bloggers that you find inspiring and pass on the love…
7 Things You May Not Know About Me
1. I was a teacher. I say was because I am not proud of that title anymore. I studied hard to be the best educator and role model I could be. As a student teacher I made it onto the Dean’s List; the top 10% of my peers. That part wasn’t that hard, really, becuase I am a very happy student. I am excited and inspired by learning, sharing and questioning. I wanted to be a teacher because I am excited by social and emotional growth and exploration. Supporting young individuals to forge their own path and feel the pride that comes with trying your best. Being there to catch them when they stumble and remind them that they are unique, stand alone wonders – just as they are. But I can’t teach anymore. I am at home every school day with PTSD because my experience as a teacher became what you read here on this blog.
2. That they have taken away my ability to be the teacher I dreamt of being hurts me more than the sexual assaults, the lies and covering up. I wanted to do good things. Be a positive influence. Make a difference. I did it for a very brief moment. I have the letters from students and their parents. Reviews from my superiors that anyone would be proud of. Life skills, international education experience and passion to burn. But I read the letters now and cry. That woman they are writing to died on the inside and reading about what I could have been doing makes me sad. And sometimes angry.
3. I am ashamed that I struggle to deal with what has been done to me. I am not ashamed of telling the truth about it. It is often all I have. I think of the kids sometimes (ok, a lot) and think, ‘You’d be telling them that they can do this…etc’ but I so often succumb to the fear and hide away. I stop trying. I have given up. I can’t be a teacher anymore. Can I? Nope. It’s just too terrifying to really think about. I wouldn’t want a student to think about themselves with such finality and resignation. But here I am. I pray when I do leave the house that not a single student ever sees me like this.
4. I’m scared of schools. And do you realise how many schools there are in your average street? Honestly, you see a school yard, I see a graveyard. Literally, in my head, that is what I see. I would be more comfortable in an actual graveyard. I wonder if that sounds sad or crazy…?
5. I have been told to quit. Let it go. Move on. By other teachers, senior management, and at one stage the Union reps. I can’t teach but I can sure as hell stand up for myself. They did it, they lied about it, they blamed me. When the perpetrator admits guilt in Court, how can the others who became involved still call me a liar? Still stand by their actions? They should not be able to do so. If nothing else, I can keep going until they are forced to hear that I am still using my voice. You can ruin my dreams for myself but you can’t shut me up. Got it?
6. They’ll never know it but I am also going to continue to speak for the kids who actually noticed that I was being treated badly at school and told their parents that they were worried about me. For the parents that believed enough in their children to tell me that, and give me discreet words of encouragement. When I just want to do something stupid I stop and think, How would I want the kids to see me on this – flailing or fighting? No question: fighting. Practicing what I used to preach. Being true, being real. Being honest. For one of the kids in particular, who asked one day, “When are you going to stand up for yourself?” (you think it’s shitty that the behaviour was so blatant? You bet. Humiliating, unprofessional and at times, clearly illegal). In my head I sometimes say to this kid, who won’t be so little anymore, ‘I’m doing it, man. Slowly but I’ll keep going. I’m true to my word’. I want that kid to know that adults don’t tell you to do one thing and do another themselves. I want him to know that I did stand up for myself. I am standing up for myself. So I tell him. In my imagination.
7. I have heroes. They’re human and flawed and that’s what makes them special. They could just be but they want more. They try harder. They feel. They give. They reflect. And try harder the next day. They give me strength and courage when I don’t feel it myself. I am very grateful.
Phew. That was a bit heavier than I intended. I morphed these answers with a bit of a purge…guess you know what’s on my mind right now…
This is the best part for me because by sharing blogs that we find inspiring, more of us find each other and add to the collection…there must be millions of blogs but things like these awards put the spotlight on some special ones like a short cut on the treasure map.
Thank you to the bloggers listed above for your words, which have had an impact upon me. I admire your courage, honesty and the fact that you are living out loud. Take this Award if you want to and pass on the admiration 🙂