06 gru PGCE and Riders of the lost Ark
As the weeks of the begging of the PGCE roll by, I start to look at how it all started, and oh boy that was one big start…
On the first days, I found myself falling into my old patterns, not involving myself with anyone. “Why should I?” was going through my head “It is going to be all like my Masters here, people are just Facebooking each other now, no real relations there. Why should I bother? I am here to study nothing else”. This thought sometimes still comes back, when I`m getting bit low on the mood swing. Not fitting in, was the theme was going through my mind.
Teaching at University is something I wanted to do since I stepped my foot in the Academia in Poland, but as I chose a different country to live I knew I need to step up the game, and if this is what I need to get my foot into higher education teaching nobody, and I mean NOBODY is going to stop me, even myself and my moods.
Around week 3 I had to fly back to Poland, during one of the a meeting with some friends something that seemed to be an unmeaningful conversation stroked a cord, I understood that I will never fit in if I don’t try, a simple question asked by my friend “but why? Why do you think that?” opened a whole new conversation. Why the hell would I think that I don’t fit in when I don’t even try? So what if they think I am weird? I am, I am also funny, and I would like to think I am also smart… Why am I not giving them a chance to know me? I made up my mind and decided to give them a chance. Was it worth it? So far… Yes. This is going to be a good lesson for me, who knows how this will end. Maybe this time I will have some actual people I can call friends* when we all finish this.
I have a small steps approach to it, but it works, I smile I joke, I start the conversations, and I am not waiting for anyone to do it for me. Is it hard? Yes! For an introvert, it is, being an introvert is not about having a fear of speaking to people (I can speak to a room full of people, but when it comes to one on one conversation with a stranger it is usually filled with the awkward silence), it is about the fact that after being around people you need to re-start and rest. So often we hide behind the labels, and we do anything to avoid a contact with other humans. We hide behind the phones, behind the messaging each other on Facebook, or even without trying to get out there, we close the conversations with simple “I`m good thanks”… Why? It is easier, we are shielded off as we are all so afraid from being seen, from being hurt, from others to know us. We hide behind the profile photo, and an illusion of a perfect life, with perfect dog, and perfect cup of tea in our perfect room, or on our perfect field trip. This is not real; the fear is not real. I get it now. There is no predator wanting to kill me there, I don’t have to fight for my life. So what that they will see who I am? Shields down! This is who I am. I am an artist who dreams about inspiring others, I love seeing that something I said or did planted this little seed of inspiration in others. I am stepping out from my box. I am taking my life in my own hands. I will see where this takes me.
As for the PGCE experience so far the it is good, it`s fun, I love learning new things, I also love re-visiting the old and familiar names of some of the Great Thinkers I got to learn about during my philosophy classes, and some of the movements that, I knew had their big part in art and literature but as I found out also have a huge impact on education.
And yes, I had some bumps around the way with getting my teaching placement. A placement that around June seemed PERFECT, and yet when I was trying to talk with the person responsible for getting me into it I found myself trying to melt his head with the Force (like the Nazi solider in Indiana Jones and the Riders of the Lost Ark), I smiled, I thanked him for his help and suggestion to talk with other people in the art department, as this is not the only thing I am able to teach… So, I did, I later got a not-so-polite email back from him, accusing me of “pushing myself into teaching” … I replied, and I was shocked by politeness of my response. I smiled, I used that old magic spell my psychologist friend gave me, “I refuse to get stressed or angry about this”, it worked, I did not send that in the reply but saying this like a mantra in my head worked, I was not angry about it, nor stressed, I was OK with his reply. This not only not set me back on the experience, it made me want it even more. My placement right now is the best thing that could happen, I teach one of my favourite subjects in the entire universe, I learn each day about how the young people think this days, and how to influence them and push them outside of that anxiety filled box they called a comfort zone, without them even knowing they have been pushed out of it. But this is a subject for a totally new post, that will come quite soon.
* This is a language thing, in Polish we have few words for people we know and like, not everyone can be called a friend, this is something you earn to be. English friends are someone in between of what the word means to me and the term colleague. When I call someone a friend it is usually the polish definition of the word – the trustworthy person you can not only laugh with and have a pint, but also you know they will be on your side no matter what, you are in it together for the good and the bad and the ugly. I have only about 5 people in my life that I can call friends according to this definition.