This week I was reading a post in MindShift about a special phase that some teachers live during the academic year, called “The Disillusionment Phase”.
Many teachers, especially in the first classes (primary or secondary school) start the year full of energy and projects; then, they happen to teach in a challenging classe, where there are many students constantly acting out, or where there are many learning problems or disabilities, etc.; by october or november, some teachers are so frustrated that they feel ready to throw in the towel and leave. This is exactly The Disillusionment Phase (this name was given by Ellen Moir, CEO of the New Teacher Center).
I had the chance to live that Phase in person: I taught Mindfulness in a challenging class, where teachers kept asking themselves things like “what did I do wrong? Why am I not able to manage a class anymore?”, full of disillusionment and frustration about the situation.
To make things worse, parents ask for rapid improvements – unaware of the inner drama that some passionate teachers live in those moments.
To everybody – teachers, parents, students – I say: be patient.
Teachers, be patient: you will happen to feel like you’re in a roller coaster, one day is good and the next is like at the beginning. This doesn’t mean you’re not doing a good job: these things take time, in some cases years! Keep on trying, asking yourself positive questions, and accept it takes time.
Parents, be patient: you have had the chance to live a similar situation once in your life, don’t you? How much time did it take you to harmonize that situation? Not a single day, for sure! So be patient, know that your children need support, guidance and rules, not parents who mourn and complain.
Students, be patient: know that you will always find someone who doesn’t stick with you, at least once in your life. Try to be your best self, always, and to understand that sometimes people behave in a certain way just because they don’t know other ways to express discomfort.
If we can be a little bit more patient with each other, we will soon discover that patience, help, listening and empathy do wonders.
Ah! The challenging classes where I taught Mindfulness have slowly got better and it seems like this year they found their balance. The teachers last year have sown well, maybe also Mindfulness helped, anyway we all understood that some plants need time and patience to grow strong and beautiful.