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A Letter to Myself

A Lot Can Happen In Ten Years

By Janis RossPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
A Letter to Myself
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Dear Ten Years Ago Me,

You have no idea how much your life is going to change in this ten years.

You think that college is kicking your butt? Wait until you get into the real world.

Right now, your plan is to start teaching next year, and you're terrified about being able to find a position. It will be okay. You have a good friend who will put in a good word for you, and you'll get your first teaching job.

You'll move the farthest away from home than you've ever been, learning to balance both the distance and the closeness to your friends and family.

You'll admittedly have a traumatizing first year, with students cussing you out, administration consistently giving you overwhelming notes on things to improve, daily bringing home papers to grade, and even having a student stalk you (on the bright side, you'll always have a story to tell).

But you'll also meet some of the most supportive people that you could have around you to support you. Mentor teachers to teach you the finer points of planning and presenting, paraeducators who model commanding presences when the class is wild, a principal who will give you guidance to improve, a reading specialist who shows you some of her bag of tricks, a teammate who went through your master's program and can support you, and a fellow first-year teacher who will be your partner in crime as you navigate everything that comes with teaching.

You'll try to start a workout and diet regimen (even though you're not actually overweight), and unfortunately this will start you on an unhealthy cycle of trying different diets and workout plans and pushing yourself too hard. But we'll get back to this.

The next year, you'll move to Maryland and start teaching in a dual-language school. You'll have much more success with classroom management and student achievement, even supporting your students to earn the 5th highest test scores in the district. You'll be a team leader your third year, meeting your school mom and learning how to stand up for yourself and put your foot down when adults try to push you around.

You'll also self-publish your first book. It won't do well. In fact, you'll revisit it later and realize that it was more of a draft than a fully-fledged book. But you'll learn a lot about the process, including how to avoid vanity publishers.

Next you'll move to another dual-language school and spend the next four years there, being exposed to even more students with wider backgrounds than you ever would have found at home. You'll try new foods, go out with co-workers for happy hour, eventually become a team leader again, and help a small group of students publish a book of short stories. You'll lose a close friend and experience the grief of the loss - but you'll also learn to lean on others for support.

Your final year as a classroom teacher will be your hardest, but not for the reasons that you think. Sure, you'll encounter difficult behaviors from your students at your new school that you've never encountered before, but you'll also be working a separate full-time job...that turns out not to be real. You'll be constantly exhausted, trying to put your best into the second job because it is your ticket out of being a classroom teacher. You'll even resign from the district ahead of the end of the school year, confident that you're next job is set. And then you'll find out that it was all a scam, that you stressed yourself out for nothing, that you didn't get paid for all your hard work, and the person responsible won't be caught.

So you'll jump into interviewing and find yourself being hired as a reading interventionist - out of the classroom, but still working with kids. You'll still be adjusting to your new position when you head to urgent care for chest pains and find out in rapid succession that you need a blood transfusion, you're anemic, and you'll need to spend the night at the hospital- the first time that you've ever done this. Then you'll find out that you have fibroids and will need surgery to correct them.

What will follow is months of appointments, leaving early or coming late to work, getting iron infusions, and finally, the surgery. It will make things so much better.

You'll start getting back into exercising, now that you can do so without losing your breath or feeling light-headed. You'll build yourself a whole workout habit during the summer, so you're able to keep it going once school starts back up.

Remember where I said that we'd get back to the weight loss thing? Here it is; even though you've been working out consistently, more consistently than you have in your life, you'll find yourself weighing the most that you've weighed in your life.

But here's where your growth as a person shines through. You'll be depressed for a bit, sure. But then you'll start making plans. You'll stop using your meal service and go back to meal prepping - not waiting until January, but starting in December. You'll focus less on the scale and more on your forward progress in getting stronger and feeling better. You'll actually look forward to working out, and you'll miss your workouts when you don't do them. You'll have a healthy relationship with food, not completely cutting out the things that make you happy while adding in things that you need to be healthy. You'll have conversations with friends where you share your workouts and your meal prep recipes, and encourage each other with working out.

And if all that positivity wasn't enough, you have a Tiktok profile that's doing well, and your work in progress is the tightest thing that you've ever written. You might even self-publish this year, who knows?

I know that seems like a lot to happen in ten years. And it is, don't get me wrong. But there's so much more ahead. More growing, more move-making, more getting stronger.

So if you're feeling discouraged right now, just know that you'll come out alright on the other side.


2024 Janis


About the Creator

Janis Ross

Janis is a fiction author and teacher trying to navigate the world around her through writing. She is currently working on her latest novel while trying to get her last one published.

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