The world naturally works with everything having an opposite. There are a north and south pole, sunrise and sunset and a left and a right, without one the other doesn’t exist. This is known as The Universal Law of Polarity and is very much like Newtons 3rd Law of Motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
It is this principle and law that allows us to know and experience joy, love and appreciation for all the good in the world. You couldn’t know happy without sad. You couldn’t know sweet without savoury. You couldn’t know hot without cold.
During my time as a teacher, I have definitely experienced The Law of Polarity at work. I know the good and the bad, the hard and the easy, the fun and the frustrating. But without one I could not have experienced the other.
- I know what it is like to have sleepless nights because you are worried about a student.
- I know what it is like to need 3 cups of coffee just to get out of the door.
- I know what it is like to feel sick to your stomach because a parent is giving you a hard time.
- I know what it is like to feel like you have failed a student.
- I know what it is like to lose your temper at student and instantly regret it.
- I know what it is like to want to sit under your desk and let the kids teach themselves.
- I know what it is like to want to close your eyes, cross your fingers and hope this works.
- I know what it is like to want to have a nap in your lunch break.
- I know what it is like to pull up in the car park and not want to get out of the car.
- I know what it is like to feel like you can’t go on.
- I know what it is like to cry when no-one else is around.
- I know what it is like to just barely make it through your front door before collapsing on the loungeroom floor because that is all the energy you have left.
- I know what it feels like to want the year to be over so you can have a different class.
I know all this. I have felt, been and done all of this. But because The Law of Polarity is always at work, I also know this:
- I know the excitement at the start of the school year as you set up your classroom, put up displays and rearrange desks over and over trying to get it just right.
- I know what it feels like to connect with students, see them come out of their shell and grow in confidence.
- I know the buzzing sound of a happy classroom where students work together, learn, laugh and challenge every day.
- I know what it is like to see students’ progress in their learning, when everything just ‘clicks’ and when that kid yells out ‘Oh I get it now!’ and everyone else cheers.
- I know what it is like to have parents bring you flowers because they never thought their child would achieve so much in one year, or talk at an assembly in front of a whole school, or be that passionate about something that they are doing homework without being asked.
- I know what it is like to laugh with your students just because you want to, because you have an inside joke with them or because if you don’t laugh you will cry.
- I know what it is like not to sleep because you are so excited about tomorrows lesson, the class play or excursion.
- I know what it is like to feel like you have been successful as a teacher as you mark assessments, give grades and write reports, noticing the growth of every student.
- I know what it is like to feel sad at the end of every school year because you have become so attached to your class you can’t imagine having another one, but you can, and you will.
Sometimes the pendulum will swing one way, but it will always have to swing back the other way too. It’s not how far it swings that matters, but how long you wait before you allow it to swing back.