Thursday, October 7, 2010

What if… the FEAR is right?

We talk a lot about our fears here. How to deal with them. How to work past them. How they’re wrong. How they’re trying to keep us from what we want. But there’s one thing that we’ve never really touched on and that’s what happens if your worst fear actually comes true.

The reason I’m bringing this up is that to a certain extent that’s what’s happening to me right now. I’m an education major. Teaching is all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life. I’ve been through four years of college, numerous practicums, and all the standardized tests education majors have to take. More than that I’ve blow all of these things out of the water. I’ve aced all the classes, floored my host teachers with my creativity and passion, and got some of the highest scores in the history of my college on my standardized tests.

I was one of the best education majors and damn proud of it. Then something happened, and now people at my college are starting to say things like “it may not be within your abilities to be a teacher” and “you could still graduate with a degree in education. You just wouldn’t be able to teach.” I’m standing there staring at them trying not to cry thinking, what’s the point of being a teacher if you can’t actually teach?

Those sentences keep playing over and over again in my head, trapping me. Everyone close to me keeps telling me that it’s not true. That one bad experience with one mentor teacher doesn’t mean I’m not a good teacher and that the college is just covering their ass by putting all the pressure and blame on me. But no matter how much I love them I just can’t ignore that voice in the back of my head telling me that no matter what I do I’m going to fail.

Then today, while I was talking to some of the students that I tutor I realized something. While I understand that what my college says is true, “being a good tutor doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be a good teacher” being a good tutor still means that I’m a good tutor. As that realization started to sink in the fear of failure and of not getting the thing I wanted most started to get smaller and smaller.

For the past month I had been considering my worst case scenario options, but I had completely forgotten two very important things. First, I’m a very good tutor, and second, the education system today is very evaluation centered. Even if everything goes to hell in a hand basket there’s still a really good chance that I can keep on working with kids and doing what I love. I might just have to do it as a tutor as opposed to a teacher, but still, a tutor with a degree in education and another one in mathematics. That’s gotta look pretty damn good.

And poof, the fear was gone. After weeks of stressing, hitting brick walls, and struggling to see a positive outcome (any positive outcome) all it really took was talking to a friend and running a Google search to I get me over my fear of the future.

Even though we all hate to do it sometimes it’s important to ask ourselves the question “what if the fear is right?” What if my worst fear happened? Would it really be the end of the world or would it just mean that I’d have to create a new world? More importantly, don’t just look at the question from your current point of view. Give it a good kick, pull out that magnifying glass, force one of your friends to come take a look at it. Yeah, fears are scary that's why they're called fears as opposed to happy thoughts, but at the same time they aren't the be all end all. There are ways to get around them. You just have to consider all of your options and keep at it.



Bethany Mattingly said...

Great post Aaron! I hope it all works out well in the end, let me know if you need anything.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a wise post! You're absolutely right - we all have fears and we seldom face them unless we have no other choice. But we should face them in order to be emotionally prepared. Great post!

emery said...

I had something similar happen to me once- with an internship. The person "in charge" of me was a mess, and I was miserable the whole summer. I was proud of myself for sticking it out, and on the last day she gave me a scathing evaluation. I beat myself up over it for months- years! But now, I really do believe that she was pushing off her own inadequacies on me.

Don't let the haters get you down! YOU know your skill and passion, and I know you'll find a way to use them.

Catherine Denton said...

Thank you for being brave enough to write this post. It helps me feel connected because I struggle with the "What if?" I know facing the fear is vital.
Making Life a Work of Art!

The Blogger Girlz said...

Bethany- Thank you, but thankfully at the moment it seems to be starting to work itself out.

Shannon- Nope, I’m not wise I’m just me, but thank you anyway.

Emery- Yeah, I’m still trying to get past what my mentor teacher said about me, but it helps knowing that it happens to other people.

Catherine- It may be vital, but it’s not always easy. I know I wouldn’t be doing it if I had a choice, but I hope you’re struggle ends with your fears begging for mercy.