I’m so tired of Jeff threatening me. I’m so tired of all. Of. This.
You can get used to almost anything.
Time. Time is all I’ve got.
And vacillating. I keep vacillating.
Can I please disappear now?
When I get overwhelmed that I am constantly making the wrong call with the kids, or revealing myself to be too in over my head…I have to remember that one day I will be that person. One day I will be that person that knows what they’re doing. One day all of this will be second nature to me…I am learning this as I have learned everything else and I have to be patient with myself. It’s only been 3 weeks and there is a lifetime of things to learn. It’s hard to make the right call every moment with every child and everything they ask but one day it will be more natural to me. One day I will just be this person. How to be a Waldorf teacher will be in my muscle memory and while I’ll never have to stop trying or stop being present, I will be able to glide. To really trust my instincts and to lead. I have to start trusting my instincts now. I just feel like I am completely trying every second of every day to prove that I know what the hell I’m doing and it’s exhausting. But there is a presence. There is a presence that if I absorb and if I inhabit and if I follow…then everything else just clicks into place. I have to get out of my head and into my body and just be. Be a strong tower. Discipline is difficult for me…really, really difficult. And finding that balance between nurturing and reigning them in is difficult. But I can do all things and I can learn all things and I can absorb exactly where the boundaries are and why and I can work on articulating those things. This is just a period of trying. Every minute of every day. To learn as much as I can about everything that’s going on around me. It’s a really overwhelming time, but if I look at it as a period of time and not a river that is chasing me…I think I can begin to understand how to be that person. How to really BE a Waldorf teacher. One day I will be that person. And that is a comforting thought. I can do it.
And it’s beautiful. It’s all so beautiful. At recess I stand in the sloping meadow with a freshly made crown of leaves in my hair and watch the children play as if in a dream. Some picture book come to life. What second grade boys think to do with their time and what first grade girls hold in their tiny hands. The way that they run and the way that they fall into each other’s arms. Trusting, always trusting.
Waldorf boys are beautiful. They hold hands with each other, walk arm in arm, hug in the middle of recess. They’re not afraid of affection or care and they accept my offers to run my hand up and down their back for comfort. They still run at each other with aggression and pound into the ground violently with shovels and rocks. But they are different. And they are comfortable in a safe space. Actually I think they have MORE safe opportunities to express their will forces and their testosterone AND more safe opportunities to express their soft, vulnerable sides at the same time. Recess is just a HUGE old sheep’s pen that slopes and curves in big wide hills…and there are shovels, logs, lumber, silver pails, big rocks and a stream. And they are encouraged to use their bodies to the the fullest extent. They do things I never imagined you would let children do in a school. Nothing is safe guarded, there is a handmade climbing structure out of logs that is quite high and they are allowed to jump off of it, figure out a way to climb up it etc. We run around in the classroom, we skip and jump and hop in a circle. We sing nearly everything. They feel comfortable to catch frogs with their bare hands and pound into the ground with a spade and at the same time, comfortable to sing and dance and skip around. It’s a crazy beautiful place.
The first grade boys are fierce. Determined and wily. But they always glance back at me through the side of their face for reassurance. That they’re ok. That they’re pushing the boundary but they’re still ok. The boys say no and they don’t know that secretly I love them for that. The girls say no too, but in a different way. A lot of the girls just respond to the boys wilderness’ by standing strong and tall and looking at me like they’re exhausted of this game. I wonder if girls continue to do this. I think I know that they do.