Examine the image closely. Imagine yourself on that stage, under those lights. Imagine all those seats filled with students. There’s anticipation in the air because they are finally quiet. Ready for the show to begin. All eyes on you. On your every move. On your outfit, your shoes, your hairstyle. Is your heart beating a little faster?
Mine certainly is!
I am a socio-phobic extrovert. I was born a complete extrovert, easily talking to whoever, whenever. I sailed happily through primary school, a confident child.
In High School my little world came crashing down. I had gained some weight and by Gr 11 I was bullied daily about my appearance, my glasses, my nose, my “nerdy” long school uniform. I was the academic and music award type, not the party type. No boy ever looked in my direction. The bullying became so bad that I spent a week sitting in the school toilets in my Gr 12 year. I refused to go back to school and eventually completed Gr 12 through a correspondence course. Social phobia, extreme anxiety and depression hit me full in the face. To cut the sob story short, I spent most of my twenties and thirties avoiding people and social situations.
Which brought me to my choice to spend the first 10 years of married life on a farm, having very little contact with the outside world.
But Extrovert me started rearing her head more and more …she was alive and well, it turned out! We can run but we can’t hide from our true selves…
Extrovert me was in agony. No people, no daily goals, no money of my own, no control over my own life! Enough was enough!
Enter…Mrs O, or ” Mam” English teacher as my kids call me. ( find my teaching tales about life as a teacher in rural South Africa here http://teachingtough.wordpress.com)
Teaching brought the personality I was born with out in full force. There are times when I almost have an out-of-body experience, looking at myself from a distance and thinking “Who is this person talking to 40 teenagers ??? ”
Ten years ago I would have run for the hills.
I am so grateful that I didn’t.
Being “The One On Stage” takes it all out of you. Remember, you are a teacher from the moment you drive through the school gates to the moment you drive out. And being “The Teacher” means you are actress, mother, nurse, councellor, disciplinarian. For those hours on the school grounds you are “ON”.
You can’t show weakness, illness, tiredness. Embarrassment, doubt or anxiety. You have your role, and you have to play it. That is your job. Projecting confidence. Showing control. Shoulders back, steady voice, efficient.
Does it take all you’ve got to give?
Is it worth it?
YES. Absolutely, 100 % worth it. Even for a scaredy cat like me.