Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 140 - I refuse to feel guilty

Teaching an adult ESL (English as a Second Language) class is a teacher's dream. The students are among the nicest people in the world, they have great attendance, work hard, and are never a behavior problem whatsoever. The night program where I taught in the past, and where I taught last month offers ESL as a personal enrichment class, so I always had a ton of freedom to decide what I wanted to teach, without being strictly controlled by state standards.

It's the world's perfect class, yet I quit it. Who quits their dream job? I feel like I'm abandoning the students. They even said (in broken English) that it's hard on them to have so many different teachers in a semester. It'll be at least 3 teachers this semester, but I can't feel bad about it. I can care about them, but still have my own life and my own priorities, which were sorely lacking in the month I taught the class. Maybe if I didn't have 2 nights of history classes it would have been different, but my training and health were going downhill fast and I didn't train for 20 weeks to give up at the very end.

My friend gave me the greatest support and encouragement to quit. It was nice to be reminded that I wasn't doing anything wrong. "U can't ignore your goals and mental health," she texted. "Don't feel guilty when you've done nothing wrong." Besides it wasn't my class. I had been asked to sub for one month while they found a permanent replacement. I fulfilled my end of the bargain and I'm done with it, both physically and mentally.

Even the Bible agrees with quitting the class:
Phillipians 2:4: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Notice that this text assumes that you are going to look out for your own interests. And knowing that is true, the text emphasizes that we should also be careful to attend to the needs of others. The text assumes that both are important. My interests are important; other people's interests are important. The text does not say, "Stop looking to your own interests, and pay attention only to the needs of others." It acknowledges that we will look to our own interests, and it encourages us to also look to the interests of others.

Something else I can't let bother me was missing my best friend's daughter's birthday party. They have both been sick all week, my friend with a fever and chills. She essentially uninvited me because she kept saying she didn't want to interfere with my training, she didn't want me to get her virus because it was a bad one. I will see the little munchkin when she's healthy. I wanted to go to the party but I understand and appreciate my friend's logic. A stomach virus would be awful, especially as my 4th consecutive sickness.

The funny postscript is that I walked passed a Coney Island yesterday just before my run. I know it as the Albanian Coney Island because the cooks and most of the customers are from the country or speak the language. I had to wait while a car turned in the drive. I was dressed like an overstuffed marshmallow and my only makeup was greasy sunblock I slathered on for the sun and wind. Naturally, then, the driver was one of my night ESL students and he recognized me. It never fails!

It took 7 hours from waking up to actually running, but it was a good run, even if it was cold and gray. At one point I was running straight into the blustery wind and snow. One step two step it got done, all ten miles of it. I always have 10-minute miles in the back of my head. At 1:32 I realized there was no way I would finish in 1:40, yet I did some fast math and realized if I finished in 1:45, that would be my target pace for the Free Press (4:33 = 10:30 miles). 8.5 ish miles into my run, I started caring about the time and established an instant time goal.

When I finally finished it was in 1:45:19, 19 seconds over my fall goal time. Sweet! Had I been thinking about time and pace the whole time I would have been able to hit 1:45 even. Not bad for a race that's 7 months and 17 days away! When I got home and did the math I realized I'll have to average 10:25s for the fall, so I was actually 1:09 over pace, but I'm still happy with it. My goal pace for the Martian is 11:30 per mile and I bested that by a long shot, even in crappy weather!


  1. When choosing between 2 important issues, there is nothing wrong about going for the bigger yes. I see your decision as the bigger yes, you chose health and personal well being. Yes, achieving goals is a part of personal well being. Congrats on the progress, I am pulling for you.