Joy in an (The) Apple: a post-grads guide to the transition of teaching in the Big AppleWritten by: Miss Haley Jones
Transitioning from the life of a student to the “real” working world has been a little rough—from the bright and early mornings, to the 5-day week grind and constant lack of sleep (no more nap time after morning classes). Cue the rough life of a millennial speech.
For me, dwelling on all of these tough transitions caused a discouragement—a disenchanting of the work that I enjoy. This happened all too quickly—the first month being a breeze with all of the newness and excitement, by the second month however my adrenaline was depleted and my spirits were low. Anxiously awaiting the weekend became a staple in my daily thoughts. Longing for the days of homework, study, and spending hours at the library was commonplace. Finding the little joys in my day became a chore and I thought about the rest of my life being a drudging existence of constant work.
This was a complete and utter lie. My mentality at that point was cynical and blatantly untrue. Yes, I was tired, because I chose to get to sleep around midnight as my previous university habits allowed. Yes, I was not a morning person, but was that possibly because of my poor sleeping choices? Yes, working over 40 hour weeks is a challenge, one that hundreds of millions of people do every week of every year. I was not alone. I finally took a deep breath and told myself… I can do this.
After this simple revelation my attitude changed for the better. I started with getting to bed earlier. Did I feel like a grandma going to bed at 10:30? Yes, yes I did. But, within three short days my mornings weren’t so bad and I was a functioning human being before 9 o’clock in the morning. My attitude changed when my thriving university habits changed… shocking right?
My experiences at work since then have been ones of sincerity, love, and growth. I love the work that I do and quite honestly it is one of the easiest to find meaning and joy in every day. I work at a charter school and after-school program in the South Bronx and our goal is to get each and every child to high school, college, and beyond. This, if you can imagine, apparently wasn’t giving me enough of a sense of purpose. The idea now is completely laughable. The people I work with and the community I serve have given me some of the most meaningful moments in my life. I know this place will shape the rest of my life for the better.
Now I look forward to the important work that I do every week. I know my team of coworkers are making a difference every single day and that the attitude we have makes all the difference. Leisure is now a chance to reflect on my work and prepare for another week of adventures in the Bronx. Taking time for rest and relaxation is definitely important—especially seen in the context of readying oneself for the essential and magnificent work ahead.
While it is true that I can still complain about missing my student life, that lovely chapter has closed, and I am anticipating the beauty in my new chapter—that of my fellowship in the Bronx. This chapter will most certainly have its challenges and moments of growth. Nevertheless, I want nothing more than to make every day better for the kids I teach; giving them the love they deserve in every possible moment.