Feeling powerful

I absolutely love my job. Every school holidays I work for a friend. My friend is the best boss I’ve ever had which of course makes things easier, she insures that not only is the actual job fun but that I also feel agency, that I am free to make many of the day to day decisions, checks everything is going well, makes sure we are all okay.. pays me decently. When I am there I feel like I know what I am doing and I’m doing it well. The environment is suited to me of course as we are mostly outside and I can move about, or sit around if I feel like it. I feel in control and powerful, not in the having power over others but that I have power over my life. I am the boss of me. I can follow my interests and start projects- within the constraints of time/place and kids interests, but there is definitely common ground there… I feel good at it. My colleagues are on the whole interesting, and only two of them are not children. I have belonging/mana whenua – a state so important it has a whole strand in Te Whariki (Early Childhood Curriculum).

I really, really like watching the kids and talking to them about whatever comes up. I like that I hardly have to solve their problems I just watch… I see happy kids absorbed in the moment and I feel happy.

I think they feel the same.

I don’t think the kids go wee hee we can do whatever we want so choose badly I think they realise there is a mutual respect and step up. My don’t go out of bounds is a logical request.

I am in a school teaching at the moment and I do not feel like this at at all…. though I did feel somewhat successful the other day when I saw a child doing maths problems for fun on the board during her morning tea, and when one of the boys took his knitting home and came back with 5cm of knitting he’d done with his grandma. Mostly however I feel I am failing in some way.. failing to get some of the kids even interested let alone understanding, that I am failing my employer/the system (the nice man who observed me even said something about what the Ministry was looking for), that I am not meeting parents expectations somehow…. I feel responsible for the thing called ‘learning’ like it is something I am creating and ultimately imposing on the children and it feels like a heavy weight and that I am not succeeding, can not succeed. I feel other people’s judgement. That colossal weight of professionalism. I think I only feel successful when I see the kids choosing of their own free will to learn something, I only like that I have sown a seed rather than I “taught” them something. The holiday programme makes me feel uplifted, I get tired but yet feel energized. School depresses me, I dread it.

But I am an adult I still have choices, I also have one week left not several years. I mostly worry about how the kids feel. When do they get to feel like I do when I am at work at the holiday programme? Helena has this voice she does when she knows things and is the boss, I really like it. I try to delegate to children but it’s hard if it’s not what they are use to, and then is that an imposition too. Having agency and feeling powerful feels good but can you get that if you can’t choose what you think is important to do?

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