I was really nervous to show up at the park by myself. I was relieved that no one was there. I parked and situated myself as far from street traffic as I could, and tried to just imagine myself as a "real" photographer taking landscape pictures- not some self-absorbed narcissist snapping shots of her daily outfit. Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun. I didn't feel rushed or self-conscious. I was so pleased with this first set of photos that I rushed out to the park the next day ready for a repeat performance. Instead the park was covered up and some random dog and his walker kept trying to creep closer. The "I'm a real photographer" mind-set didn't work and I was incredibly nervous and awkward. Not a usable pic in the bunch. Seriously. I was too worried about what the other people there were thinking about me to enjoy myself and get the job done.
So the teachers at my school had a "homework assignment" over Christmas break. We were supposed to read The Power of ICU, a book explaining how to implement a "No Zero Policy" at the high school level. I'm not going to bore you with the nitty, gritty, but I read and highlighted REPEATEDLY the idea that as a teacher "I can't take it personally when a student doesn't do work for me" and that" it's not about me." These are very hard concepts for me to embrace in my teaching life and in my personal life. I take everything to heart. Who knew I was so sensitive?
My husband used to call me "Little Miss Take Offense" and I think the nickname is pretty self-explanatory. Every sideways glance is someone judging. Every laugh in the hall is directed at me and what I'm wearing. Every furtive glance down at a cell phone is a secret text message to someone about me. When I first started teaching, I was super concerned with my students "liking" me. It's really hard sometimes to separate your adult self from your teenage self when you are working in a high school (I think those difficulties are compounded for me because I teach at my alma mater and my ghosts seemingly haunt the halls). It's a second chance at high school!
But then students don't like you (well, me, but I'm trying to be hypothetical). They talk about you. They complain about you. The use of social media is both a wonderful thing and a dangerous thing, especially in the hands of teenagers. Everything is an opportunity for drama. I've taken major steps in the past year to separate myself, and to not take things as personally. While it is incredibly tough, I know it's for the best. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. As I spend this year working towards my goals and aspirations, I am going to try to stop taking things personally- both at school and with the blog. At school, I will remind myself I am there to teach, not to make friends. With Hems for Her, I will not take it personally when people and companies I tweet don't respond or emails go unanswered. It doesn't mean they are purposely snubbing me because they think I suck, even if it is what it feels like.
It's a long road, but I'm determined to not take things personally, well, except my pictures... See how I tied all that together?