Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

I was going over the lesson plan with the former professor of the Psychodynamic’s class that I am teaching this fall at CIIS.

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

We had been on the call for a while, an hour and half maybe, she’s also my supervisor, so I was also doing client work, it wasn’t all class prep.

But, the last half hour of it was and I suddenly felt myself totally start to lose it.

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

Guaranteed to have an emotional moment and cry, I mean, duh, I should know by this point.

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

I teared up, I got blown up, and overwhelmed and sort of lost it.

I said, “wait, stop, I don’t understand what you just told me.”

It sounded something like, “PDF, blah, blah, blah, download, blah, blah, blah, upload to Canvas, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, just sent it to you, blah, then you blah, blah, blah, and that’s it!  You’re all set.”

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

Although half the time I just think of it as turning on a light switch, I don’t understand how electricity works, just that when I flip the switch the light turns on.

Same here.

I sit down, I type some stuff, I edit it for spelling mistakes and then I hit the “publish” button.

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

My back end is what I am sitting on in my chair.

Basically what was happening was the back end stuff for the platform the school uses for online learning.

Also.

Let me reflect that when I agreed to teach this we were not in shelter in place, there was no pandemic (although there were some weird things going on out in the world.  I do remember telling my supervisor that I felt like something big was going to happen. I thought maybe there would be a dot.com bust not a pandemic), I was going to be teaching in person, lecturing in front of a class.

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

So figuring out how to handle the class and transition to online teaching and making PowerPoints (why God why?) and uploading this and creating that.

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

I could get fired at any time and I can quit at any time.

However.

I just don’t think I can quit five days before the class starts.

I can be an asshole, but I’m not that much of an asshole.

Also.

Jesus fuck am I glad I did not accept the core faculty position.

The thought of having to do more work like the work I have been doing to prepare for this class makes me want to throw up with anxiety.

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

I love my therapy clients, but everyone of them is stressed to the max, hello pandemic, the current political situation, riots, economy in the tank, and oh yeah, the fires.

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

I have had a low grade constant headache for the last four days.

I hate even complaining about it.

I”m safe in San Francisco, but the smoke is bad, I don’t have to evacuate my home like so many people I know.

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

I made myself go for a walk yesterday despite the smoke.

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

Yeah, the overwhelm thing and me crying on a Zoom call with my anxiety about getting all the tech crap set up for the class and I was kaput.

I had intended on working on my dissertation proposal defense yesterday and I just had no juice left.

I mean none.

I called a bunch of friends and left messages and tried to focus on listening to others instead of whining about my stuff.

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

I connected with a friend who also was out for a walk and we literally happened to be three blocks from each other.

I hadn’t seen him since right before shelter in place and it made me want to cry.

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

We walked, socially distant, in our masks, through the smoky streets of the Mission District and caught up and laughed and joked about hugging, but we did not.

I felt a lot better.

Not good enough to give my proposal any work, but better.

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

Except in my mind and in my heart and in my psyche.

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

When I’m strong and resourced and the world isn’t on fire or in a pandemic or a crazed political state, I am able to do the work.

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

I’ll get the proposal done (another PowerPoint, ugh again).

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

Because I am smart and strong and I am a good teacher and I will make mistakes and that’s ok too.

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

The rest is non-judgmentally allowing myself to teach without expectations of perfection.

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

Get Used To It

October 4, 2015

Yeah.

I know.

Get used to the busy.

Get used to the overwhelmed.

Get used to it, kid.

You’re in graduate school.

And.

You have seven hours of T-Group tomorrow.

Ugh.

But.

Yippee!

I mean.

REALLY?

T-group is great, it’s just a lot of work, constant emotional work, I am working, let me tell you.

Working.

And hella grateful that this morning I reminded myself to not wear eyeliner and to make sure I was wearing waterproof mascara.

Done and done.

Because, this lady cried a lot today–T-Group brings it out.

The tears.

They flowed.

And.

The catharsis happened and I got insight and I felt better.

Had the catharsis happened without the insight, I think I might not have felt the way I did by the end of the group, but I got a load of insight and a lot of self-awareness around how I put up walls and where I need to work on being vulnerable.

And also how to process emotions that clients are going to bring up in me that are not pertinent to the client experience.

In other words, I am learning to deal with conflict in a calm manner.

I still am emotional and I cry easily, but I am coming to terms with that and also seeing that I consistently show up for the work and I do a lot of it.

I carry my weight in the group.

Perhaps a little more.

But then I am a greedy girl, I want to get every last drop out of it, I want to wring out the learning, I am paying an arm and a leg, yes I am, for the experience–I want to get every dollar out of it that I can, I am after all borrowing a lot of money to be there.

In that spirit I am grateful too for my Psychodynamic course and how the professor is teaching it and how she wants us to learn.

I was expressing to a fellow in my cohort at lunch what it was like, the experience of learning Freudian analytics, with this professor and how she reminded me of a professor I had in undergrad who taught graduate level TS Eliot.

I learned more than I could ever have believed.

Whenever I wrote a paper or took an exam I found that I had absorbed and rearranged the material in my head in a way that was new and interesting and I did not even know it until I was challenged to react to the work and respond.

This professor is like that, I like how she teaches, she uses everything, she is dramatic and smart and amiable, and quick-witted and a character and she makes learning exciting.

I find myself answering her rhetorical questions out loud in the class and interacting with her and the lecture and having a dialogue about the material.

It’s fucking fascinating.

That doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting.

My brain could use a little break from Freud.

I mean I spent three hours tonight, 5p.m.-8p.m., going over theories on hysteria, mourning, and melancholia.

It was a lot to take on after having a really raucous start to the day with some poorly handled treatment of a touchy subject in my Human Development class and then three hours previous in an emotionally charged T-Group.

By the time I was in the Freud class I was pretty kaput.

Then.

We wrap up the case of the infamous Dora and her notorious relationship with Freud and hysteria and move into Melancholia and Mourning.

Grief and depression.

Two things I have had plenty of experience in.

And yet.

I learned more.

The learning.

It just keeps happening.

I’m not caught up on all the reading either, but I am so much further ahead with it that I am able to keep up with my classes, and in the Freud class I am entirely caught up (in fact, I got into one of the vignettes in the reader and realized that I was actually reading ahead of the assigned class work.  It was so fascinating that I contemplated continuing to read it, but realized that I needed to focus on my T-Group reading and get my butt going on the Therapeutics of Group Dynamics–say that ten times fast).

The class I am least caught up with is my Human Development class and I just don’t care.

The professor is not a bad person, but she is a poor teacher and in the over reliance upon the work assignments and regurgitation of ideas, really with little to compel me towards further learning, I am loath to spend any extra time or resources on her class.

Of course.

Her class is the one with the highest work load and amount of reading.

Five response and reaction papers, one group project, on solo final project, a reader–a gigantic reader (bigger than any of my other classes, additional videos online, extra handouts (outside of the enormous reader) and the biggest text-book I have ever carted around in my entire academic career.

It’s not that I can’t do the work or won’t do the work, it’s just that when the work is so uninspiring and there is so much material to parrot back that I feel lost in the muck of it.  Overwhelmed by the sheer volume and what feels like frankly, the most boring of my classes.

C’est la vie.

There will be classes like this.

There have always been classes like this.

I am going to show up and do the work and let go of the results and not care too much about the content, that feels the worst somehow, as a writer, to be writing so much volume but to not have an emotional or even intellectual resonance with the work.

That is the work.

That is the exhaustion.

That is the rub.

But.

I know it and though it is a slog, it is a slog I can do.

And tomorrow I won’t have to slog through her class.

I will have to work on her paper over next weekend, there is no getting around it.

I have done one response paper and my chapter outline project, the group project, for the class.

Which leaves four more papers to write and one final project–I’m going to write about using sign language with babies and toddlers and language development and emotional response to communication thereof.

Scintillating.

I promise.

Ah.

It’s been a day.

I am in school.

I had no clue it was Saturday or where the day went.

It just went.

I am grateful to keep showing up and that I feel better and more prepared for the work then I did the last weekend of classes.

Here’s to showing up one more day, amongst many, tomorrow.

And.

Getting used to it.


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