Monday, January 26, 2009

Re: A job or a calling?

I was going to post a comment in response to the last two questions a friend wrote in a blog post ("A Job or a Calling?"), but then realized I had way too much to say to confine it to a comment post.

Her questions were: "Are you willing to go the extra mile in your job?" and "Can you picture a future in it? "

Probably I've talked about this before in this blog, but the sad thing I've come to realize is that, as I am now, because my answer to the former is "yes," my answer to the latter has to be "no."

And that, more than anything tells me how immature I still am.

I throw myself into things wholeheartedly and end up getting burned out because I still haven't learned how to balance all the various aspects of my life: work, relationships with friends/family, down time, etc. And I'm still selfishly lazy enough that I don't want to spend years of my life overworking so that I can learn how to make that balance.

Even though I'm passionate about education, right now I feel like it's more important for me to have a job that I can enjoy but that won't consume my life outside of my working hours. And teaching--assuming you're a teacher who cares, of course--is NOT that kind of a job.

One of the reasons (maybe not the biggest one, but a reason nonetheless) I haven't signed my re-contracting papers yet even though I'm 90% sure that I'd like to stay for a third (and likely final) year, is because I've been feeling so worn out and tired of working all the time recently. I think I can last a third year, but I'm a little worried that partway through I'm just going to burn out and stop caring about the job. And I've been so frustrated this year feeling like far too many ALTs only do what's asked of them--without even thinking of doing more--that I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I turned into one of them.

I guess what I lack is perseverance and faith in myself. People keep telling me that if I just give teaching a couple of years, I'll get better at it and start being more of the teacher I want to be, but I honestly don't think I'm capable of a) learning that fast; and b) sticking it out that long.

And because all that ed psych talk about the lasting effects of bad teaching really stuck with me, I'm not willing to subject students to my bad teaching if at the end I'm just going to give up (on a teaching career) anyway. I know, it's a completely pessimistic, defeatist attitude, but there you have it. Guess I'm just not a "yes, we can" kind of person.

When faced with the choice of regretting something I did NOT do or regretting something I did, I'm pretty sure I'd choose the former every time.

You might ask, "where is God in all this?" And, to be frank, I'm asking the same thing.

Going home and back to MCBC for Christmas really showed me just how ungrounded I've become. In "Christian-ese" we always talk about going through the valleys to reach the hilltops, but I'm feeling like I'm wandering around on a plateau in a huge crater or something--not necessarily going down, but definitely not going up anywhere either. It seems like in my time in Japan I've become more aware of my flaws, but less inclined to act to fix them.

Well, maybe that's just my current state of mind casting a feeling of languor over everything. (Actually, I really hope that's the case!)

But enough of the depressingly honest talk! I finally uploaded some photos to Facebook, so enjoy!

- Office Year End Party, Part 1
- Office Year End Party, Part 2
- Soroptomist New Year's Potluck