Well meaning advice can backfire.

As stated in my very recently posted Nature vs. Nurture (part 2) post, I’ve been getting a lot of advice from people who are well meaning, but often don’t really understand my situation, or…me! This advice has been for 2 (possibly 3) areas of my life: my work situation, my love life, and sometimes my emotional health (or lack thereof).

Lately the job front has been a bit wonky.

teaching wordle showing important aspects of teaching

This jumbled mess is what a teacher’s brain looks like when asked to define our job duties…

They moved me out of my classroom where I was making a difference, into a classroom full of children who haven’t been learning most of the year. They’ve been passed around from teacher to teacher until I am the 5th (and hopefully final) teacher they’ve had this year. No one has forced them to do anything all year long, and they seem reluctant to start learning in a time slot they’ve kept for playing. In a nutshell, they’re acting like jerks because I’m trying to make them learn something!

Now, before I get fired for calling my students jerks, anyone who’s been keeping up with this knows I LOVE my kiddos. I have no children of my own (minus my fur baby, Pepper), and so my students become my children. I care about their well-being. I care about their futures. And when someone messes with my kiddos, they often have to deal with me in angry mama mode. For one thing, it’s the nature of the job, but for another, it’s part of who I am. I get equally ticked off when someone talks about one of my friends! I’m very protective of my peeps… (which includes my lovers, but more on that later!)

So when I say they’re “acting like jerks,” I acknowledge that they are NOT in fact jerks, but merely acting that way because they see me as an intruder. They don’t realize that I’m here to help them.

As was pointed out to me by a friend, I have to win them over, and I could do that by going over their grades with them like I did in my other class. She said she got this idea from reading my blog… *Blush*

Ok, so that advice wasn’t so bad… On the other hand, she told me to follow my OWN advice… So perhaps, I do know what’s best for me. Hmmm. Novel concept.

Some of the other advice that has been given to me was to decide if I really want to continue teaching, and then “figure out what steps need to be taken” so I can keep doing that. Ummm if I knew what steps needed to be taken to get through to this group, I wouldn’t be contemplating career suicide. And according to the earlier friend, apparently I DO know what to do, I just haven’t had the opportunity to do it yet.

quitAlso, “if you don’t like it, just quit.” I do like to eat, so quitting isn’t exactly an option. While teachers make decent money, I’m not making enough to put anything away in savings. Mostly because I’m still paying off student loans.

“Get a second job.” This goes back to people not understanding the nature of teaching. I’ve taken a bit of time off because I was sick, which will hurt me in the long run, but usually my evenings involve grading papers and making lesson plans. Creating tests, testing technology lesson elements (like webpages and links and things), looking up new, fun ideas to make school interesting… etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Teaching is not an 8-5 job. It’s a 7:30 to 3:30 job on paper, but I can often wake up in the middle of the night and completely change my lesson for the next day because I dreamed up a new lesson that would work better. My mother works 2 jobs, and it’s driving her insane… perhaps literally! Even if it’s not driving her crazy, it is hurting her. She gets less than 5 hours of sleep a night, which isn’t healthy for anyone other than college students.

Anyway, the advice kind of goes downhill from there. A lot of “just fix it,” as if that was all it took. Sometimes a problem gets so big, that there isn’t a way to just fix it. And since I’m dealing with the loss of my “good” kids, the kids that I’d made connections with, that would work for me, that wanted to learn because they knew I was teaching them, even though they didn’t think they were learning at the time, and I’m having to make those connections with a new batch of kids, while shoving knowledge down their throat, I’m struggling with the enormity of this situation. These kids do not want to learn. They do not want me to know that they haven’t learned anything all year, and so they’d rather act up, act like jerks, to keep me from seeing their faults.

It’s a bit overwhelming.

shirleyseriously

It threw me into a bit of a depression for a bit. But I think I’m coming out of it.

Which brings me to the next area where people keep butting in er, giving advice…

Mr. Nosey from the Mr. Men books.

I used to love these books! My favorite was Mr. Squiggle.

So, when a person asks to know what’s going on between me and someone I’m seeing, I’ll tell them. And I tell them more than they probably should hear, or want to hear. I have no filter when talking about myself. It makes me a good friend of gossips. They know I’ll tell what I know because I don’t usually care what they think of me.

But when my real friends ask, and then decide they don’t agree with a situation because it doesn’t conform to their idea of what’s normal… Things get a little nasty.

So I’m seeing someone. We’ve known each other, and consequently have been seeing each other (when he’s in town), for about 4 months. We are both grown adults, over 30, with our own ideas and thoughts and ways of living. We’re not going to jump to the marriage and happily ever after in 4 months. That is insane.

Well, it’s insane in my opinion. I have a friend who keeps telling me she knows a person who met and married their soul mate in less than 3 months and several decades later they’re still going strong. More power to them! I’m a free spirit, and that thought actually terrifies me… a lot.

So, just because after 4 months of knowing each other, we’re still in an undefined place, doesn’t mean that I’m just putting up with someone who “doesn’t treat me right.” It means I’m getting to know someone to determine if he’s someone I might want to spend the rest of my life with, and making sure before I make that commitment.

I’ve been engaged twice, to people that were oh so very wrong for me. I’m not making that mistake again. The next time I seriously consider marrying someone, I’m going to make an informed decision.

And if you read the post about nature vs. nurture, you’ll realize, I may NEVER decide to get married. So don’t assume you understand how my relationship should work because it’s not like yours.

I like some definition, granted, but I don’t need to be on a marriage track to be with a person. I’m not exactly a serial monogamist, unlike some people I know and care about. It’s not my thing. I’ll go years without dating, and then date 4 or 5 people at once to determine which one is worth keeping. Or I’ll meet someone I really care about and get rid of the rest and make it work with that one person until it doesn’t anymore, or until we’re ready to take it to the next step.

629px-Be-a-Nonconformist-Step-5

I won’t tell you how to live your life, if you don’t tell me how to live mine. Deal?

I know the advice comes from a place of love, but only hearing snippets of a situation, means you can’t make an informed decision. And just because what works for me sounds bad to you, doesn’t mean it is. Right now, my love life is one of the best things going for me, and I’m sorry if that’s not a good thing in your opinion. It’s not your life and you’re not the one dealing with the circumstances, the choices, or the consequences.

I’m not exactly a traditional type girl. I don’t do things the traditional way. And just because my way isn’t your way, doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way… Please stop taking the one thing that brings some light into my life and trying to convince me it’s bad for me. It makes me think you’d rather me just be miserable.

And trust me, I can do miserable all on my own!

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3 thoughts on “Well meaning advice can backfire.

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