I don't know when it started, but at some point in my life I started funneling my anxiety into my dreams. Have a major paper due for class? I would dream about NOT turning it in one hundred times the night before, so that when I woke up (in a panic, usually) I would be exhausted from the drama, and relieved that I had one last opportunity to do it right. Getting married tomorrow? I spent the restless night before my wedding dreaming about every worst-case scenario possible. This probably actually worked to my favor because then I was relaxed--everything that could go wrong already had, in my dreams anyway. Those are just two of hundreds of instances where my dreams reveal my real anxiety, no matter how much in denial I am.
A week or so ago I had dreams about my pending observation at work. I'm surprised I didn't wake up crying more than once, because I certainly woke up with a feeling of despair and defeat since all scenarios ended in my termination. Admittedly, this anxiety is stacked upon piles of previous anxiety-inducing experiences. So, in plain terms, I am feeling very uncertain about whether I will have a job next year.
Our revamped teacher evaluation system includes a scheduled observation and an unannounced observation. My scheduled observation came shortly after the meningitis fiasco of 2010. And I've just been anticipating my unannounced for weeks, since the beginning of March. My small group has been praying for me and my anxiety, and I'm so thankful for their intercession.
But Wednesday morning I started to become anxious in real life. During my planning period, I mentally started to beat up on myself for my shortcomings as a teacher this year. I had to get a hold of myself and make a conscious effort to not let it take me over, deciding that I did not want to let it control me to the point where I would be needing Zoloft or Xanax. I stopped and I prayed for release from this torture, and I e-mailed Eli and asked him to pray for me, too. And this is how the rest of my day unfolded:
- A meeting I was dreading because I was unprepared was postponed until next week.
- With my time freed up, I was able to get everything done that I needed to before my students came back from exploratories.
- A student's "attitude adjuster" [probation officer] came to sit in my class to observe the student during 3rd period.
- My principal showed up 5th period to observe me. My lesson was fully developed, and the kinks had been worked out with the first two classes, and I'd already been indirectly observed, so it was all good.
Thank You, Lord, for taking this burden from me!