There are three reasons I love traveling:
1. I can escape my problems by physically removing myself from them for a short amount of time and come back re-energized to face them again.
2. I can learn real-life skills and practice problem-solving when I get into tricky situations.
3. I can come back and educate others about other countries by sharing my experiences with words and images.
Right now, I feel like traveling to escape the reality I am faced with. To jump on a plane and come back renewed. As an adult, I know this is no longer feasible. I must come to Institute tomorrow and say goodbye to my students for the summer. I must say goodbye and hope that they enter the 6th grade next year and then go on to do spectacular things in their lives. I know that each of their dreams are worth pursuing, but today I had a rough moment with one student. We shall call her Jane. Jane exhibited apathy from the beginning of today. I tried desperately to turn her behavior around, but it only seemed to push her farther away from doing what I wanted. I am not proud of myself because I was not able to get her back into the classroom in time for my lesson. I want so desperately to stay in touch with her and to ensure that she is safe and constantly being challenged by her future teachers, but then I think that I am a fake for believing that I had challenged her enough this summer. Then I begin to get stuck in that vicious cycle of What If’s with myself. What if I had stayed up later every night thinking of ways to improve her academic outcomes for the summer? What if I had enough time in the day to think of more creative and engaging lessons for each of my students? What if I did do enough? How am I ever going to be able to tangibly test my own effort level? Should this just be an internal feeling and satisfaction? I worked so hard in college and in my own schooling to fight for myself, so now why do I feel as though I am not working hard enough at my job? I could blame it on the lack of “grades” and external feedback that I will now receive in the real world. I am so used to feeling validated by my professors and teachers, and now I have switched positions and I must do the validating of my students. This is some sort of weird situation I have found myself in. I do not feel anxious, but I do feel eager to get feedback all the time on how I am doing, but I really should be worrying about how the kids are doing because they are the priority.
So as institute ends, yes, I have made steps toward transforming myself but did I even come close to transforming my students? I think I just need a vacation from thinking about myself and come back rejuvenated to prioritize my students, whoever these children may be.