I won! Sort of.
I won Teacher of the Year (TOY) for my building. I continued and competed against the other TOYs in the district. They then had to pick the top few to continue before picking an ultimate winner.
After doing a lot of writing, agonizing, video taping, editing, revising, and sole searching… I completed an interview in front of nine people.
I ended up knowing half of them, which actually made it more nerve racking. I stumbled my words. I bounced my leg. I did everything in my power to not have a panic attack in the room. I smiled. I looked at everyone even though only one person asked the questions. I tried not to over analyze what their head nods or note taking meant. My brain shut off as I answered a question. When I thought I had answered it, I still had to ask, “can you repeat the question? I want to make sure I answered all of it.” I tried to continue eye contact even thought I wanted to stare at the ceiling.
I. Tried. Everything. I could think of to do my best.
It wasn’t good enough. I got the call saying thanks but you didn’t win. It was worded more elegantly but the main message came loud and clear.
The worst part? I hadn’t realized how much I wanted to win until I was no longer in the running.
I wanted something I could figuratively wave in the faces of anyone who told me I couldn’t, wasn’t good enough, fired me, looked down at me, threatened me, and more. Something that says, “you were wrong! I AM a teacher! And a damn good one too!”
Then, it hit me – tv wisdoms. A few sentences from a tv show turned me around.
“Fixed? That’s not a thing. … My job is to give you the tools to get through the day.” -Dr. Iggy Frome, New Amsterdam s1 ep20
I didn’t need fixing. I needed to use my tools.
One of the best tools MY therapist gave me was like a reality check. I’m sure there’s a name for it but I’ve since forgotten.
I’m in a spiral of negativity. In my mind, not winning at the district negated winning at my school. Those people were right. I shouldn’t be a teacher. I should have been fired. They were right to give me an improvement plan. I deserved to have kids that cause me to evacuate my class and then be judged when I had to protect my students.
What’s the truth here? I WAS nominated and chosen as TOY for my building. I had FIVE different students nominate me. I had TERRIBLE school leaders that did not treat me with the appropriate amount of respect and seriousness deserved. I am currently working for school leaders who DO respect me and treat my needs and questions seriously. I won TOY in my second year in my district and my fourth year as a certified teacher (which is SUPER early to win in my area). I did something out of my comfort zone because my school leaders, students, and colleagues believed in me.
The other truth?
I feel like I may have been overlooked for some reason other than qualifications or qualities. BUT part of winning at the building level is interviewing the candidates the following year. SO that means I can help pick the next candidate based on honesty and integrity and influence others to do the same (if it isn’t already).
Oh, the irony… as if my mental health could pick a better time to take a roller coaster… during mental health awareness month. (Yes, I know that’s unfair of me but still not untrue)
Speak out, speak up, and love yourself!
Happy mental health awareness month!
Teaching In Public