“Hello, Marissa. Yes this is ****** school district. You will be starting the year off in Room ****” said the sweetest voice on the other end of my cell phone. My heart dropped a bit. I explained that there had to be some mistake, I was moved back to my old classroom during summer school. My home. The only place I felt comfortable to be myself. But she insisted that it wasn’t a mistake. I thanked her and ended the call solemnly.
I had gone through a lot over the past couple years and the only place I could leave it all behind was at my job. I worked with a lovely group of women in a beautifully structured and organized classroom. These women we’re and still are like my sisters. They empower me and build me up on my weakest days. Knowing that I would have to spend another school year with out my support system shattered pieces of my soul. I felt like I was being bullied. Ever since my boyfriend left the school I had nothing but problems. I got submerged in the mass of chaos and negativity his teaching days left behind. He got out but I was left with the lions like a sheep trying to stay alive. I will never really understand how people who know nothing about you could try to break you down so low until you are nothing and feel okay about it. Thats what my job was doing to me.
I began the school year feeling defeated. Not that I didn’t enjoy my new coworkers, because I do. They are pretty amazing. But I wasn’t at home. I work with children who have autism. Its challenging but I wouldn’t trade my job for all the money in the world. In my old class I worked as a “communication diva”. I taught the children how to appropriately communicate. Hearing children speak their first words and blossom into these beautiful beings is a blessing that I adore. In my new class there wasn’t time for that. Most of our day is spent running around and putting out fires. I don’t get the joy of teaching anymore. By the time I get home Im emotionally and physically drained from all the commotion from the hours at work. I don’t want to talk or move because of all the noise that I had to endure throughout the day. I find myself stressed because my kiddos aren’t learning. These are critical years in an autistic childs life and I felt like I was a contributor to the lack of learning. My brother has autism so I can’t help but view these children as if they are him. Its hard to witness a sinking ship and not have enough man power to save it.
I was stressed everyday entering work and everyday leaving. Last week during recess one of my coworkers said, “not my monkey, not my zoo.” I let it sink in. This is not my problem. I cant control what is happening around me. I can’t encourage the administration to see that this isn’t working. But what I can do is come into work with a positive attitude. For some of these kids I might be the only love and compassion they receive in a day so why not be the brightest spark. So I came in the next day with a smile. I greeted my kiddos with a cheerful good morning and manifested for it to be a good day. There were a few bumps along the way but I left there this week determined to make this school year the best yet.
Monday morning Im going to walk onto campus with the widest smile. Im going to be positive if it kills me. I lost my way but I refuse to let this break me. Im going to nourish my friendships with my old coworkers. I will make time for them outside of work. I will spend my breaks and lunches with them catching up and laughing instead of venting and rants. My work days will be filled with laughter instead of anxiety. Some people will try to steer you from your path, but you can’t allow it. They can try, but I’m not a sheep anymore. I have to remind myself that I am Marjorie`s granddaughter and I am a Lion! I am on a spiritual journey and I am in the midst of an awakening. I think I needed those simple little words to become a mantra. “Not my monkey, not my zoo.”