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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Her break-up

Relationship breakdown! Not mine… as I don’t have one ;) but Laurens… an American teacher from work. A week ago, she and her British boyfriend split up. And, to be honest, I don’t even know why I writing about it on my blog… Or maybe I do. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dragged into her break-up. Well, not so much dragged in. But it’s been more by choice that I’ve been helping her through it.

I’ve not written about Lauren at all on my blog. It’s not been something intentional. But it may just show that the kind of friendship we have is focussed more on her rather than on the 2 people who form this friendship. She’s in her early 20s, often very lost and she hates China. It’s strange, but I’m fine with the imbalance in our friendship. I know she isn’t the person I’d turn to talk about things that are really important to me nor would I approach her for advice. But at the same time I can deal with her emotional turmoil that is often her life. It doesn’t affect me for some reason. Just like it doesn’t affect me that she’s heartbroken at the moment and on the end of the phone, on a daily basis, crying her eyes out. I’ve been offering her help, I’ve been round to her place to look after her, I’ve been on the giving end of text messages to get her pepped-up for work on a couple of mornings. I’ve sat with her outside a pub, while she was drunk and in despair. And still I smile. Am I a stone and without compassion for what she’s going through, because I’m able to deal with her pain?

At first I thought I was. But during the week I realized that it’s only a positive thing to be able to be there for a friend in need, without letting it emotionally myself become an emotional mess too. Maybe it’s also the imbalance in our friendship that’s letting me remain so unaffected by her pain? I’ve felt like a relationship counsellor on a few occasions. And it’s been a hell of a long week. But I’ve been happy to help her and I’ve actually been learning so much too. And at times there’s been so much advice flowing out of me, advice I’ve never before given to anyone in my life, that I actually shock myself… because I’m definitely not a relationship expert. But to realize that I do have things to say on the matter, was quite revealing ;)

Actually, there’s one last thing I’ll say on this matter. After having spent so much time focusing on her, instead of my mood being affected, my energy actually was. And by Sunday morning - the last day of the teaching week - I was a drained wreck. Not emotionally, but mentally. My head was out of whack. And it didn’t make matters easier that Sunday is always one of the busiest teaching days of the week. I think it’s safe to say that I was a bad teacher. My classes were lifeless... because I was lifeless. My kids were uninspired… because I was uninspired. My kids were out of focus… because I was out of focus. Man oh man… it was bad! After every class I found myself apologizing to my teaching assistants for giving such bad classes. They understood, but it didn’t make me feel any better! It was like, at one point, I didn’t even know how I was supposed to be teaching the particular topics I was meant to be teaching. My brain was just not functioning at all… Lack of focus, lack of sleep, lack of energy… So I guess being the counsellor on call, was affecting me in a different way than I initially thought it would.

I was starting to beat myself up over it. But I didn’t have the energy…hahha. It was just a bad day! I suppose it happens to every teacher. I’m only human I guess. This just showed me how much of truth lies in something I’ve heard from other teachers many times: whatever mood you bring into your class, it will determine the outcome of your lesson. Being a teacher, you always set the standard of your lesson yourself, by the approach you take and by the importance you give to what it is you’re teaching. And when you don’t want to be teaching then you don’t give any importance to the lesson and the kids won’t either. And there’s nothing been taught and nothing being learnt! To have had this feeling only on one occasion isn’t a crime and it doesn’t make me into a bad teacher. There are many different skills and personality traits that make a good teacher. But one of them is that the teacher needs to care for the kids and for the purpose of the lesson. Which would sound so normal, but you’d surprised the amount of teachers who don’t give a s***. And I’m NOT one of them. I’m a teacher who DOES care, even when I’m having a tough day for having given most of myself to one particular friend, leaving very little for me to give to my lessons and to the kids. So, yes I’m a teacher who cares, otherwise I wouldn’t have been phased by the voice that was going round and round my head on Sunday, telling me over and over again that “I don’t want to be here…”

Man oh man... what a week. But it's all good. I never ever expected to write post on my blog about somebody else's break-up...!!! ;)

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