Thursday, June 30, 2011

A period of Mourning

Have you ever believed in something with your whole heart?  Have you then gone out and trumpeted the cause and told everyone you know and everyone you meet how great it is and then worked your hardest to help it come to fruition?  Have you then seen it wither before your very eyes?  The "rose-colored" glasses are hard to lose sometimes.  I mean, really hard.

I finally feel like I can write about something that's been going on in my life for awhile.  I've been mourning the loss of my dream.  It's a pretty terrible thing to go through.  Luckily, I've had some truly wonderful people to grieve with.  We were all going through the same thing, so as terrible as it was, we could lean on each other and make the situation a little more bearable, at least.

When one of my girlfriends returned from a six week maternity leave, she looked and seemed to feel better than the rest of us.  She repeatedly told us how terrible/ exhausted/ run-down/ miserable we all looked.  (I mean, she was much more delicate about her wording...she does have manners.)  She was right.  We had to come to terms that we looked worse than the mother of a newborn baby and two toddlers.  Let's just say it wasn't exactly the best time for my ego.

So, somewhere around this time, we realized what it was that we were going through, and what had changed in all of us.  We were going through the five stages of grief.  We were grieving for the school we thought we were building.  Some of us were in different stages than others, but if you looked around, you could clearly see the stages of grief in all of us.  Yes, I know it's a little silly to think about comparing the death of your goals to an actual death, but I think in a strange way, it's almost more intense than the loss of someone beloved to you.  I know that this has been equally as hard for me as the death of loved ones I was very close to.

Five Stages Of Grief
1. Denial and Isolation.
2. Anger.
3. Bargaining.
4. Depression.
5. Acceptance.

Stage 1- Denial and Isolation

This was the time when we all kept thinking "Today it will be what it's supposed to be.  Well, yesterday wasn't it. TODAY will be the day. Nope. Tomorrow will be the day!"  Then came the time when I locked myself in my classroom and hid during my planning period for about three weeks because I just couldn't stand the denial and how upset everyone else was, too.

Stage 2- Anger

I have never in my life been as angry as I was at some of the situations and circumstances of the past school year.  I mean, there were times that I was furious.  Now, I don't experience this emotion frequently, so it was difficult for me to handle, especially when I had to go back into my classroom and continue teaching my day like it was normal.  I'm not sure how healthy it's long for this stage to last, but I think I was at least partially in the anger stage for a solid 6 + months.

Stage 3- Bargaining

This was when started arguing with myself and fighting extra hard for things to change to the way "they were supposed to be." funny idea we have...I'll work extra hours if it'll make things become the way they're supposed to be.  I'll do whatever it takes if things will just be the way they're supposed to be and the kids and staff will get all the benefits they're supposed to get.

Stage 4- Depression

This was by far the longest lasting and, in my opinion, most severe stage.  It's pretty self-explanatory.  I didn't want to get up and go to work in the morning, I didn't want to be there when I was there, my work ethic withered because I was so upset and discouraged.  We were all terrible for each other and didn't seem to do much to bolster each others' mood.  

Stage 5- Acceptance

I only recently reached this stage.  This is when you accept that things will never be as they were 'supposed to be,' regardless of how hard you try, how much you beg and plead, and cry, and pray, and wish and hope.  Things have changed, the depression is lifting, and you are able to accept life (or the situation) as it is, and move on.

That's exactly what I'm doing.  I'm moving on! I accepted a different job before our return contracts were issued and am so excited to be embarking on a new adventure.  I'm not sure that my new school will be my "forever school home," but it's a huge step up, an excellent opportunity for me to develop as a professional, and a lot of it's goals are very similar to the very goals I hoped to be able to achieve this past year, but was not able to due to all the roadblocks.  This new (to me) school is established, has a great infrastructure, a fantastic and experienced administration, and a friendly, experienced, knowledgeable, helpful staff that has VERY little turnover, which means everybody is successful.  I hope and pray it's a great year!  Anybody else have grief that they're going through or are able to get past?

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