If I Could…

I had terrible dreams last night, and steady sinking feelings all morning. In actuality, the sinking feelings started yesterday and carried over to today. We’re on this treadmill that keeps going, and if you fall, you just get dragged along until you either get up, or die. Yesterday, I had a student that sat outside of my class for the entire period and just cried and cried, her winged eyeliner getting smudged in the process. I went to check on her every so often to make sure she was okay, offering her tissues, asking if she needed to go to the counseling office, asking if there was anything I could do to help, and telling her she could stay outside for as long as she needed if she stayed within my eyesight. It wasn’t until this morning that a question popped up into my mind: why is it okay for kids to step outside of the classroom and cry for however long they need, but teachers, or any adult, can’t do that?

One might say that, as a teacher, you need to hold it together at all times in front of your students. You’re supposed to be a stellar example of how to behave as an adult. There are countless times I’ve cried in my empty classroom, had to suck it up before the next bell, and then opened the door like nothing was going on in my life. My students were none the wiser because I had dried my tears before they shuffled in. The phrase “leave your problems at the door” comes to mind when I think about all of this. Why do we need to leave our problems at the door? Why are we taught to suppress and deny our emotions when we step into any job title? Why are we supposed to stifle our humanness in the workplace? It’s really hard, and it really sucks. Not only that, but it’s not like your personal life goes away once you cross the threshold into your workplace. If anything, it can just make things feel worse.

Some days, when I wake up, I just want to stay under the covers and hide from the world, but I can’t do this. It’s strange how, as an adult, you’re not allowed to be moody without getting called out. It’s almost as if, when you surpass your teen years, you are no longer given the grace to feel the feels in front of people, or at your place of business. You can’t excuse yourself to go cry in the hallway without looks of alarm, or disdain. Today is definitely one of those days where I wish I could just put a sign on my classroom door saying that class is canceled so I can just go home and cry. But, again, I can’t do that because I’m not 17. Nearly 40 year old women are supposed to have it together, whether they want to or not.

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