There isn’t one person on Earth that has never been disappointed about something. The disappointment I am feeling at the moment is a little overwhelming. Writing/blogging is therapeutic for me. So instead of wallowing in this, I choose to let my fingers make sweet music with my keyboard. I hope the end result is a renewed sense of optimism.
For most of the past school year (2012-2013), I worked feverishly on something called National Board Candidacy. It is a certification educators can achieve by jumping through what seems like an infinite amount of hoops. Throughout the process, there is an extensive amount of writing. We video. We document. We produce artifacts. We reflect. We provide evidence. Evidence, evidence, evidence. Blah! That word exhausts me. I spent months working my heart out to provide EVIDENCE of my worth as a teacher. I’m ad libbing here, mind you. Nowhere during this process has my worth as a teacher been questioned. I am simply feeling a bit cynical at the moment.
The first stage was spent gathering evidence, videoing myself teaching, providing artifacts to “prove” certain things, and overall jumping of the hoops. Once that was over at the end of the school year, the next step was to spend 3 hours inside a testing center having six writing prompts thrown at me in rapid fire form. I had 30 minutes per prompt to respond. I like to write, and I like to talk about education. What I don’t like is being put under pressure and having to provide aforementioned evidence impromptu style.
Anyhoo, after it was all said and done I felt a relief. The monkey was finally off of my back after months of stress and worry. I felt pretty good about the first stage of it all. I was very up in the air about the second stage. The impromptu writings. I felt really good about two of them, not good at all about a couple more, and undecided about two.
We recently received an email stating that we should prepare for score release. Yes, I finished in May but had to wait until November 23 to receive my scores. Don’t ask me! Yesterday I tried not to think about it. I’d already spent enough time anticipating this. I didn’t want to spend a Friday on edge. Last night, I didn’t want to prevent myself from getting some sleep. I worked through the nerves, told myself I’d check this morning. And I went to bed. I woke up for a drink of water. I pressed the button on my phone to look at the time. It was just shy of 4am...3:50 to be exact. When my phone lit up, I saw a Facebook notification from a friend and fellow National Board candidate. She had messaged through the night, saying that scores were up. I rushed to the living room and opened up my laptop, logged in to the website where scores post, and there it was. In black and white. Much to my chagrin, I did not pass. To add insult to injury, I only missed it by one point. ONE POINT. And the part that made me miss... the impromptu writing. Those six 30-minute assessments! Well, technically, 4 of the 6. I did ok on 2 of them. Nonetheless. I sat solemn for a moment and caught my breath. I read the report outlining my scores. I began wiping tears. Then I began watching profanity dance through my mind. I closed the lid of my laptop, and sat back in the chair. I just didn’t know how to feel.
I sat for a while simply processing information, reflecting on the entire journey, pondering my next step, battling anger and sadness, thinking about all of the money and time I had spent, etc. etc. I worked up a sizable headache. But alas, I was completely out of BC Powder. It’s my go-to headache relief. This was simply unacceptable. I had no control over my scores, but by golly I was taking the proverbial bull by the horns and getting me some BC. I threw on a hoodie to cover the t-shirt I’d slept in, I put on some boots without socks, put my hair in a ponytail and I headed to the 24 hour gas station. On the way there, I was focused on getting me some BC and hoping not to see anyone I knew. I pull up, I look at the truck in the parking lot and think to myself, “Hmm, that kindof looks like the truck of a friend of my sister. Sure hope he doesn’t see me.” As it turned out, my sister was with him... they were headed hunting. It was quite embarrassing, but she still loves me. I got my BC powder, a coke and powdered donuts. Those things are comfort food to the Nth degree, and I don’t need any evidence to prove it!
So there I was. Headed home. Rounding 5am. Braless and in my PJs. Tears rolling down my face. Cramming powdered donuts down my throat. Swilling my Coca-Cola. Listening to Gene Autry’s Frosty The Snowman. Yes, this is a true story. I can’t make that up. It was quite a moment. One of my all time lows, I’d venture to say. I’m thankful there were no witnesses.
BUT... after it is all said and done, I must do as George Michael instructs and have faith. I will retake the necessary sections. I will pass next time. I will have a different story to tell a year from now. And after ending up with donut powder in my nostrils (don’t ask), I shall never eat that particular comfort food while crying again.
Disappointment. It is inevitable. It can make us or it can break us, but that is for us to decide. As for me, I choose not to break. I choose to be optimistic. I choose to go forward with my weekend plans and have the fun time I know I will. This too shall pass.