One of my professors began the semester with a speech. She said, “this will be the semester that will make or break you,” and I haven’t forgotten those words. As someone with anxiety, I can’t be told that, even if it’s the truth. It’s the only thing I’ve thought about as I enter each class, as I plan each lesson plan that I use to teach my students. It’s the last thing I think about as I fall asleep at night. I have been wracked with the idea that no matter what I do, I won’t make it through this semester. I’ve slowly been showing people what they thought of me was true: that’ll never make it.
I am in my first ever teaching experience this semester. I began teaching a seventh grade class full of bright and passionate students. However, instead of focusing on them, I’ve been trapped in my own head. My mind tells me things that I shouldn’t think about myself.
You’re a failure.
You’ll never make it as a teacher.
Leave. Run now. Before it’s too late.
And to me, it’s already too late to turn back now. I’ve been in school for five years to become an English teacher, and now that I’m in the classroom, I find myself panicking. It’s not because of the workload, which is a lot. The lesson plan writing is not bad anymore. It was rough at first, trying to get the hang of the expectations of my college and of what’s expected of me at the school. I just think about that first speech my professor made, and I constantly question if I’m going into the right profession.
I have friends, professors, and colleagues tell me that I can do it. I have a great rapport with the kids, and that I truly care about them. But, my mind tells me not to believe them.
Ignore what they’re saying.
They’re just saying this to be nice.
You’ll never be a teacher.
You’ll never be anything.
Yesterday, I found myself hyperventilating in my classroom after my students left. As a person with anxiety, I chose a strange profession. Public speaking has never been my forte, and I tend to hate to be the center of attention. But, as a teacher, that’s all I do. I speak to twenty-five kids that depend on me to care for them and to enlighten them to their highest potential. I question myself, thinking of things I could do in my life eventually, but my mind comes up blank every time. I’ve worked so hard for this. Why am I second guessing myself now?
Before this semester, I thought I could do this. I thought I could be the best teacher that I could possibly be. I thought I could change lives, not majorly but slightly. I thought that I could be someone. But, my mind plays tricks on me to think otherwise. I constantly think back to the speech my professor made on the first day of class. “This will be the semester that will make or break you.” Will I let it make me into what I’ve wanted to be for so long or will I break down under the pressure and make nothing of myself? I ask myself this every day. I think I can get through this. My mind seems to think otherwise. But, I want to try. I want to get through this. I just need to keep pushing.