But let me rewind a little bit...
You may have been wondering "DUDE. Meg. Where have you BEEN?! I thought you were going to keep us updated every single week about the crazy awesome and excellent adventures you've been having in Alaska, and yet, the last time you posted was in August/September. What has HAPPENED to you? Did you fall off the Arctic Circle or something?"
I apologize; please forgive me - said super-sheepishly. The honest truth is that the fall semester was the biggest, hardest, most challenging 5 months I have experienced. Moreso than the insanity that was accelerated graduate school, and the roller coaster madness of undergrad. I don't quite know how to express in words how insurmountable some of the challenges felt. I kind of felt like I was drowning. Everything felt SO big and SO scary, all the time. Teaching is an incredible, heartbreaking, awesome, and difficult career, in and of itself; teaching in Selawik? Magnify all of that x1000.
My students are amazing. The people are inspiring. Despite informal observations and formal evaluations, feedback from coworkers and mentors, I felt like I was failing, every single day. I know that I'm very critical of myself... and it's because I always want to be the best teacher for my students that I can possibly be. I think I just got so lost in the challenges that I forgot (and lost the ability) to be myself. Especially when I found myself without the security blanket of all the people who love me who affirm me 24/7. (If you have ever heard or read the 5 Love Languages, you'll understand when I say that I am a "words of affirmation" kind of girl. ;) )
So. I went home on December 19th, spent time with my security blanket people, and came back to Selawik feeling refreshed, energized, and renewed. Today was the first day back, and I put on my happy, beautiful, blue shoes and felt a whole lot of: BAM! HERE I AM, students!!! I am REALLY here, now, and I am going to show you the kind of teacher I have always dreamt of being! I know that I won't be able to make every single one of my 90+/- a few students LOVE and develop a PASSION for history (or P.E. or Computer Applications), but I know that I can do everything, with every fiber of my being, to make these kids know that I love them, that I care so deeply about their growth as people first and foremost. History is important to me, don't get me wrong. I can talk about aspects of history FOREVER and ever and ever and ever, and I will. But at my core, all I want is to help my students realize that they are the best people they can be, that they are special and important, that their opinions and feelings matter, that they can be and do anything they want to. I yearn for the lightbulb moments, the beautiful, spectacular fireworks, and for some of my students, those moments could be when they spend time hunting and providing for their families. For many, it could be when they're dribbling a ball down the court and perfecting a 3 point shot. For others, it could be taking care of their younger siblings and then starting their own families. Who knows? The possibilities for my kids are endless. They can reach for the stars and the northern lights! (They may land on melting glaciers, but hey... that could be a fun snowmobile ride!)
I don't know what the rest of this school year is going to bring. I have no clue what kinds of decisions I'm going to be making for the future. Quite frankly, I'm not too worried about it, because God has a plan for me and I am walking the path He has set for me. All things will happen according to His timing, and as difficult as it is for me, I have to keep letting go of my need for control and just let what is be and what will be be. Because last semester, I was ALL about control - I *need* to control my classroom. I *need* to control my feelings, so I *need* to isolate myself from the people I love the most and who love me right back. Now I know that that is just BS and I *need* to let go and let God, just like my license plate thingy says on my beautiful red Ford 500 that is sitting in my parents' driveway. I *need* to let my light shine, let the love of God shine through me.
Funny story... my original intention for this post was to talk a little bit about what happened last semester, discuss my renewed positive, enthusiastic, and energized feelings, and then talk about something unrelated to school and such (I've been watching documentaries and shorts about Tiny Houses again! I love them!), but this just feels so much better and relevant. Tee hee. Que' sera' sera' - what will be will be!
I will endeavor to be better about this bloggy-thing. I will, also, be better at communicating. Skype me! Email me! Send me snail mail! If you don't have & want this contact information, let me know! I miss you!
I love you!