A curveball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown in a way that puts a spin to the ball causing it to dive in a downward path as it approaches the plate. A "curve" causes the batter to think the ball is headed one way when the actual flight the ball takes is quite different. This week I was thrown a curve ball!
I uprooted my whole life to move to our nation's capital to teach the visual arts to underprivileged teenagers at one of the lowest performing school in the country. I wanted to make a difference and be a part of an amazing project that I believe will be historical and possibly a movie one day.
I prepared all summer by making lesson plans, attending in-service courses on Restorative Justice (through the Attorney General's Office) and Kagan teaching strategies in order to prepare for my students, and when I showed up the first day of school, I find out that I am now teaching what the District calls I.D. students. In other words, Intellectually Disadvantaged teenagers. I am now teaching teenagers who are severely mentally challenged. Kind'a hit me like a curveball. I was expecting one thing, and life had something else in store for me.
So, the question is, "What do you do when life throws you a curve?" One of the keys to hitting a curveball is "early recognition"—getting a beat on the type of pitch so you are ready to connect with the ball when it crosses the plate. I did not have time to prepare for this so it hit me hard. Truthfully, I wasn't sure how I felt about this. At first, I was angry because I felt that I should have been told. Then I felt as though I was not qualified to service these children because I don't have a degree in Special Education. Lastly, I felt that it was unfair not to warn me, ask me or prepare me. But after all those initial emotions, where do I go from here?
Truth-be-told, I wanted to get online and find another job opening in the DC area, but that would not be wise and when I give my 'yes' it is always a yes. I don't pull back on my word, I am a woman of integrity. So I came up with steps in dealing with this curveball that I want to share with you. Possibly, the way I am handling this will help you someday when life throws you a curveball. Here it goes...
1. Acknowledge the disappointment. Express yourself. I express myself through writing, painting, sewing, cooking and running. You can express yourself many ways. For example, express yourself through speech (rapping), music, running, or sports, etc. Find a way to release your frustrations.
2. Now stop, breath and think! I had to pull myself together and calm down. Making major life decisions in a state of anger or frustration is never wise, so pull yourself together and think.
3. Put everything in perspective. Once, I got out my frustrations, then I calmed down, now I put it all in perspective by analyzing the situation clearly. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise?
4. Write down all the good things about the situation (don't list the negatives, try to stay positive). Maybe someday, this will all make sense and in the long run, this will make me a better more compassionate person.
5. I can't change these circumstances, so I must change my attitude and make the most of it. If, after this school year, this is not for me, I can always change schools next year, but I will keep my word and follow through despite the challenges. Things happen for a reason.
6. Now go at it and give it my best!
Life has thrown me this curveball, now watch me take this opportunity to knock it out of the park and make a home run!
Love, Ms. B.