Thursday, 7 January 2016

Became Miss Lame

Wow. Here it is. The end of Ms. Lame’s adventures in England.
From August 2011 until present, one week before my return move to Canada. How do I even begin to reflect?
Have I “become Miss Lame”
Four and a half years ago, my final days in Ontario before moving to the mysterious UK, I coined the blog title, “Becoming Miss Lame”. The basis of this title and the alias was two-fold;

1. Alliteration, “Lame” starts with “L” and has 4 letters, just like my actual last name.          “Lame L_____”.
As a youth, I claimed this title proudly, taking it before others could claim it for me. I thought I was being pretty clever. From a young age, I recognised that calling myself out for weirdnesses, farts, awkward moments, would enable me to harness power over the situation. No one could make fun of me if I was already claiming these oddities myself.  I got the knack of embracing the “piss take” of myself.
Translation: British to Canadian
Piss take; Slang for an act of mockery, an act of making someone or something look silly  

2. When I moved away, I was 25 and just readying myself to enter into the undiscovered “teaching world”. This was a world that I upheld as “truly adult”. I didn’t believe I was there and worthy yet. Time spent in the UK presented an opportunity to become that teacher, that full-blown adult. To have a positive influence on youth’s learning and intrigue them in science and health and almost more importantly, to have a positive impact on their social-emotional growth and well-being. Being a teenager is hard. I wanted to be that teacher that made a difference. I was all sparkles, lolly-pops and rainbows!

Have I “become Miss Lame”
I have stomached my way through the discouraging OFSTED-heavy, tick-box, administrative swamp that is the UK teaching system… This was an achievement.  4 years and one term of it.
What I learned: It got easier as I got more selfish.
Setting boundaries has been crucial. Much easier said than done.  These personal boundaries can only be set from within and take time to discover and embrace with a sense of entitlement. And the sense of entitlement fluctuates… A hell of a lot.
After four years and one term, I’ve not yet mastered it, but I am much better. The right balance, it is a hard place to get to in an overwhelmingly multifaceted world such as teaching which calls on and takes advantage of the altruistic.
I do believe that a part of setting boundaries is about accepting your limitations. Sure; one body, one brain, so many hours in the day. More positively and more importantly, it is about focusing on your strengths and the things that make you love your job. This re-centres you and re-builds inspiration… For Miss Lame, it was focusing on creative lesson planning, and listening to and enjoying the company of her students.  Bare minimum on admin crap… Enough to stay employed and appear good(ish) at it. To retain “team-player” status.
Without this tactic, the sparkle, lolly-pops and rainbows start to fade.  

Have I “become Miss Lame”
Do I feel “truly adult” and like “that teacher”?
My last half term of teaching, November until the 18th of December (2015) I have spent winding down, relaxing and “fully embracing the parts of teaching that I love and putting aside the administrative tasks (completing the barest minimum). Calm, happy brain = clarity.
I am going to miss my students and bonds we’ve achieved through my dedication to them and their learning and wellbeing. I know I have been “that teacher” to a number of students. I deeply value the overt and subtle ways students convey their appreciation and reciprocate care for me.
The recent shift, I do feel like “that teacher”. I know it. I don’t need to be told (however positive reinforcement is always nice). I know I am good. It took a while, but I believe it now. I can walk into a classroom and wing it with style and confidence (although I prefer to have a fun plan set).
Do I feel “truly adult”?
In addition to having just under 4.5 years of teaching under my belt, 2015 has been full of major life events and decisions, which “truly adult” people experience and make.  2015 proved to be a turning point, the shift towards my feelings of full-on “womanliness”.
On the 12th of January 2016, I will be departing from London Gatwick Airport, and flying to Canada with a ring on my finger and a bun in the oven.
My love, will be joining me in a few months’ time when his visa has been processed.

UK win.

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