Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Classroom Management, Life Management 101

At the age of 37, when my first marriage had ended and my daughter was in junior high school, I had my first classroom teaching experience. I came to classroom teaching somewhat unwillingly because I greatly prefer interacting with students in small groups and I am not very good at controlling the behaviour of others. I have always wanted to learn new things and I have always believed that education offers people opportunities in life. But, those are my personal beliefs.

So, when I was confronted with a Grade 6/7 class, I did what I do best: I read from the list of available Ministry approved novels, chose two of them with ironically the theme of survival, designed activities and discussions that would correlate so that the two grades could share their literary experiences and put all of my plans on paper to share with my administrator. My administrator approved my lesson plans which I actually created as a map of our learning together and was ready to set out.

Then, I met the class! The other Grade 6/7 teacher had had many of these students for 2 years and it had been decided that they needed  to be "split-up".  Madame Soon-to-be-Disillusioned was in for a lesson in survival.  All people do not want to learn (especially 12-13year olds) and some people believe that giving the teacher a hard time is "all part of the adventure."  My beliefs and hard work seemed to be of no use at all in that classroom. Each day was a challenge for me that year. I actually went home and listened to the Peace Meditation at lunch. Fortunately, I survived and taught 22 more years.

However, it may be that I have some "learning differences." That is the approved way of saying that I don't always learn as well as I might. Right now, I am experiencing many of same issues in my personal life as I did in my long-ago Grade 6/7 class. I am experiencing Retirement 101 and I am floundering. My plans for retirement were for as much travel and intercultural experience as possible. If money were to become scarce, I would augment my pension by teaching English as an Additional Language as I am qualified to do. Monsieur more or less agreed but had not mapped out a journey of his own. We even took a readiness test for retirement. Like that long-ago starting teacher, I had a plan that looked good on paper.

HOWEVER.....However, is never a good sign. It means that things do not always go as planned. I loved living in Paris even more than I thought I would, I found the perfect apartment, and got First Class Honours in my course. My life was following my beliefs and my personal map. Monsieur, on the other hand, (used to further indicate a certain contrariness of life) decided that he did not like Paris or Europe as a matter of fact. He has chosen to follow his musical path.

In itself, the separating of our paths should not be a bad thing but I am very unhappy. The time that we share, to me, is time that we spend doing things that we both enjoy. Walks, picnics, theatre and music...
Unfortunately, I can no more control my husband than I could those 13 year olds. He is out almost every night of the week, is always late and once "fell asleep" at a gal's  apartment. I really do not know what to do!

Unfortunately, I still keep trying. I have invited the musical friends, even the "gal" for dinner and for post-show drinks. I have attended performances.... Yet, M. still leaves me, still stays out late, gets angry that I talk about my sadness. Furthermore, more bad news, Pinot Gris has become my new best friend.

If you were to design a genogram of my family, alcohol and insecurity are a common theme. We work hard and do our best but sometimes things just don't go as planned. I am "insulin impaired" which means that I should not drink, should exercise and watch my diet. I shall be working with my personal trainer, following a more consistent diet and trying to develop a day plan that will see me through until it is time to go again. Writing is therapeutic for me and perhaps there are others who will read this
and learn something. Or not!

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