All weekend I've been a crazy nervous wreck about this upcoming week. It was my daughter's first birthday and even among the first birthday excitement I couldn't get myself to stop thinking about school. Yet as I worried and chewed on my finger nails and contemplated whether or not I was going to survive the year I realized something-
I was doing it again-
I was making it about ME and not about the kids.
Whenever I found myself getting truly nervous I realized I was thinking about myself. Does the principal respect me as a teacher? Last week when I said "x" and meant "y" and maybe he actually heard "I hate kids" ? Am I going to lose control of my class and the whole school will think I'm a terrible teacher? Will everything think I am lazy because I have to run out the doors to go pick up my daughter? Will the principal decide from watching me teach in a five minute block that I shouldn't ever be a teacher? Will I remember to turn in my emergency care cards in alphabetical order? Will I say the wrong thing to a parent and have the parent hate me from day one? Will I remember to smile at my coworkers or will my stress get the best of me and everyone will hate me? What if I make a mistake and no one will immediately judge me?
Ridiculous, I know, but I can't stop. The 'what ifs' and the trying to see how other people interpret my actions can eat me alive. Especially in a new place where everyone is trying to prove themselves.
Then, in the midst of all that 'what if' stress this weekend I found myself thinking about the kids I met last Thursday. Their smiles, their parents' smiles, their little faces, the fun we're going to have, and how I need to adapt and change the room for them. And in those thoughts- the thoughts about how I will actually do my job- I find myself calming down. My heart stops racing and I stop biting my nails and grinding my teeth. I start smiling at the thought of them coming into our room tomorrow. I find myself getting excited as I anticipate what we'll need to put in place to make everyone successful.
It's about the kids.
It's not about me and how others see me. It's not about whether or not the principal trusts me or thinks I'm a good teacher. It's not about whether or not I'll make mistakes. I will make mistakes. We all do. I will say things that can be interpreted two ways. I will feel self conscious and awkward. But none of that is important.
What's important are the five little friends who will enter my room tomorrow. The five families who are praying that their child will have a good year with a teacher who loves him/her. The five sets of eyes wondering what their year at their new school will be like.
It's about them.
I can't wait.