Over the weekend we ventured west. Saturday Nate directed the Singing Youth of Nebraska festival choir in North Platte. I don't know how many concerts I've watched Nate conduct, but every time I'm proud of all he's accomplished. It's incredible how talented of a teacher he is. It's evident in the way kids watch and respond to him on stage--even kids who have only known him for 7 hours like the ones pictured in the photo.
While Nate was busy working, I was busy catching up with friends in Ogallala. I got to run with Kristin and spend time at Lou Kraus music visiting with our friend Shannon (Bob was in India). After the concert, Nate and I both got to eat at our favorite restaurant, Open Range, with some of our favorite people from Ogallala. Then we spent time at McDonald's with about 15 of our former OHS students. It was so great to be able to catch up with these kids again. We've missed them so much. I never thought it would be so hard to leave a group of kids.
We headed back to Omaha on Sunday, so it was a quick trip. It was much-needed though. I think Nate and I both needed to go back to see that our kids are doing okay without us. I carried a lot of guilt for leaving (still do, actually). I did cry as we pulled out of Ogallala and headed east down I-80 towards our home that doesn't quite feel like a home yet.
When we moved, I honestly thought things would get better. I had frustrations from my job due to a lack of administrative support, and I felt isolated. I knew that my new job would be difficult because the expectations for teachers and students was higher. But I never assumed the job would be as hard as its been. Honestly, this year has been rough for me. My job has been more time consuming than I thought it would be, and I haven't been able to build relationships with kids like I have in the past. I feel like my entire life has been swallowed by my job. Even today on my snow day, I tried to go back to sleep and couldn't stop the list of things I need to do for work from running through my mind. I had to get up. I sat down to read the Bible like I do most mornings, and again, I couldn't stop thinking about work. I tried to write to shake off the thoughts, and they kept gnawing. I think about work when I drive home, when I pray, when I read, when I write, when I run, when I'm eating dinner with friends, when I'm spending time with family. I feel guilty when I'm doing something other than working. Then I feel guilty for working too much. I can't shut it off this year, and it's maddening. It's to the point where my fire for teaching seems to be a fading blue flame. Honestly, I'm not sure what to do about it. When I look at the kids in the picture, it makes me want to keep teaching so I can build those relationships and be a positive role model (kids can never have too many positive adults in their lives). I truly love education, but I don't love that I've let it take over my life. Most of the teachers I know seem to have their lives together and in balance and don't seem to be such a big mess like I am; I always wonder how they do it. I don't know if it's this job in particular that is leaving me anxiety-ridden, if it's the fact that it's a new job, or a combination of both. Whatever it is, I need to figure out a solution soon before I (and my relationships with others) combust.