I realize in all of this blogging about my career break and hopeful career change, I’ve never really addressed why I need said break and change. While there are many reasons, I think this story will help illustrate my point the best.
In preparation for the Prince Edward Island portion of our upcoming road trip, my husband and I are watching the Anne of Green Gables mini series. Well, I’m watching it while he sits there annoyed that this is how we’re using his big fancy TV (though I think he did enjoy parts of it, truth be told.) Near the end of The Continuing Story, Anne is having a conversation with the principal of the school in which she works. Thanks to Google and this person–who transcribed the entire script of all three movies–I can paste that conversation below. Please note the part at the end that I’ve bolded…
ANNE:Isn’t that ring around the moon enchanting?
BROOKE: I’ve seen a good many moons in my time.
ANNE: You haven’t seen this one. Sit down. Let’s let it just soak into our souls. Wasn’t it a marvelous evening?
BROOKE: Don’t make a fool out of yourself, please.
ANNE: It was thought in ancient times, that when a man and a woman sat under such a moon, they would be bonded together in love for eternity.
BROOKE: Love. If I died tomorrow, not one living soul would miss me. What is it you want, Anne Shirley?
ANNE: To be your friend.
BROOKE: I don’t have friends. I don’t have your notable gift for doing the queen act, always saying the right thing to everyone.
ANNE: You say you like people to be frank. Well, I’m going to be frank. It’s your own fault that no one likes you. Katherine Brooke, you are all prickles and stings.
BROOKE: I know I’m not social and people hate me. Do you think it doesn’t hurt that I’m always neglected and overlooked at social functions? I’m sorry. I’ve never been able to swallow all the snubs and pokes I’ve received here in my life. I remember every single one. For fifteen years, I had to endure relatives who cared as little for me as my dead parents. I’ve lived in third-rate boarding houses that froze in winter and stank in summer. I’ve worn their cast-off clothes. Fortunately, I had brains. I made it through college and I paid them back every cent. Oh, yes, I’m independent now. The truth is I hate teaching. But, there’s nothing else that I can do. Look at you, little messenger of optimism. But how long will it last? Five, maybe ten years before you wither inside of this endless monotony. Prepare to join ranks of cold, uninteresting spinsters who have chosen a professional career, Anne Shirley.
Upon hearing that last little bit, I turned to my husband and simply said ‘Eight. It takes eight years.’
And he laughed and hugged me.
Why? Because less than a month ago, a speech like that would have sent me over the edge. I would have been all like ‘she’s right, she’s right, it is a miserable thing, I am just like Miss Brooke!’ And then I would have cried. Like, a lot.
You see, the conversation between Anne and Miss Brooke illustrates a universal truth about teaching–some people are meant to do it and others aren’t. What many don’t realize is that you can go from one type of person to the other in a fairly short time. I used to be an Anne Shirley. I used to love my job more than anything. I loved the kids, I loved my coworkers, my school, my curriculum–everything. Loved it. Every day was fresh with no mistakes in it. But over the last year and a half, I’ve found myself much more resembling Miss Brooke. I don’t want to be Miss Brooke.
Most of the people I worked with are Anne Shirleys. That’s why my school was (is) such an amazing place. But the more I looked in the mirror, the more I saw the pinched face and severe hairstyle of Miss Brooke. And Miss Brooke doesn’t do anyone any good. She’s not happy, and she makes the people around her unhappy. And so, in the next year, I hope to (re) find my inner-Anne. I guess Prince Edward Island is as good a place as any to start looking.