I have this teacher. I'm in a pretty hard course for a freshman to be taking (not to pat myself on the back) and I have this professor who definitely knows their shit. I was nervous going into it because I knew it would be pretty difficult, but I decided to try and stay as confident as I possibly could.
Then I chose to speak a few times. Every time I said something, the professor would either laugh, give me a weird look, or move onto someone else. No validation, no feedback, no positive reinforcement. And don't get me wrong, I've had teachers that I haven't liked in the past. And usually it doesn't deter me from trying my hardest. But there's something different about this professor... it's as if they've completely shattered my confidence for the subject. I would rather be silent than attempt to go out of my newly-created comfort zone. Could I be exaggerating or making this up in my head? Quite possibly. But the way it has rattled my self esteem is undeniable.
So what do I do? In my head, every time this professor runs the class in a way I disagree with, I take a mental note and daydream about how I would do it differently.
When I was little, I used to always think about myself as a teacher. But here's the thing about me--as a Type A, perfectionist from pretty much birth, I realized right off the bat that I wouldn't be the most liked of teachers. I pictured myself being very strict and very hard on my students. I would have very high expectations of their behavior and performance. I've had this image of myself in my head ever since middle school.
Yet, as I have gotten older, some of those parts of me have died down, or morphed into other personality traits. I'm not nearly as uptight as I used to be, I'm much more open-minded, and I don't always consider my way to be the best way.
So, as I was sitting in class today, imagining how my teaching style would be so different and so much better than my current professor's, I had a much different image in my head of what me as a teacher would look like: more likable, a calmer demeanor, and really just trying to get my students to think deeper.
Then, as if my 6th grade self (pink highlights, blue glasses, braces and all) was standing in front of me, she told me, "No! That's not who you are. Don't kid yourself." It was as if my mind viewed itself as incapable of change and growth. It was a gut reaction to tell myself: you are this; and there is no getting around what you were born as.
Why am I writing about this? I think it's indicative of not only a lot of issues I face on a daily basis, but also ones that most young adults face. How do we separate ourselves from who we have pictured ourselves to be and who we are capable of becoming?
I think the truth in all of this is that you can mold yourself into whoever you want to be. That sounds cheesy. And trust me, there are things we are all born with that will, to some extent, follow us throughout our lives. But it's how we choose to view ourselves that really ignites who we become.
And I am totally aware that is WAY easier said than done. Oh, so I can just view my faults as positives and then my life is perfect? No, nothing is that easy. But, being open to seeing yourself in a new light is the first step in actually embodying the person you aspire to be. We are all constantly changing; life would be so ridiculously boring if we all stayed the same. So, I'm working on suppressing 6th-grade me so that 19-year-old me can take the reigns; because she is confident, intelligent, and much more tolerant. If I accept this version of myself, then maybe that professor won't bother me so much.
They say that the first step is acceptance, right?
۞ ally ۞