Teaching is such a personal profession that it is almost impossible to separate personal struggles from their impact on your professional life no matter how hard you try. You either bring a whole person to the job or you fake it because the kids deserve better.
There is a tidy, comfortable, and highly controlled vibe to much of Mondrian’s work. I’ve worked hard over the last year to rid myself of these qualities in my personal life despite the fact that they have served me quite well in the classroom. Being an introvert, this set up worked for me. Living with cautious boundaries didn’t happen overnight. There was a time in my life when I couldn’t get off the hamster wheel and when I hit bottom from that it took its toll on my health and family life. Hurting in those two areas was enough to wake me up in order to start living life on my own terms. This required trust that people in my personal and professional life would accept a new assertive me. It also required a change in schools to truly embrace living and working honestly in order to grow professionally.
I still cling to the safety of the black lines of this painting when I begin to feel overwhelmed, but the blocks of color represent new endeavors I have embraced. I’ve always been one who enjoys trying new things, but in recent years, the fear of finding myself back on that hamster wheel has been enough to cause self-imposed roadblocks. The color blocks that are side by side represent the realization that what I do in the classroom is worth sharing with others. I had falsely assumed that if I had figured a great plan out in the classroom then surely someone had already thought of it. The black blocks represent the days I struggle living a more boundary free life. The white blocks stand for the time I have to figure next steps out.
All of my family and friends are of age to paint their own black lines. I only need to concern myself with how I am in, and if I am in, relationship with them. That realization is extremely freeing. As a professional, it has translated to being more approachable, collaborative, and open to uncomfortableness.
A picture of a flower exploding in bloom or a bird taking flight didn’t quite feel right. Maybe in 2015…