Watch an AMAZING adaption of this blog here, created by Liz Cervantes.
When we are stressed, overwhelmed or bored with our jobs, it can be difficult to see how it can be any different, let alone how we can become passionate about our work. The key is not within necessarily changing jobs – the key is in changing who we are.
In many ways I have a very privileged job, because unlike many teachers I get to do pretty much what I want in the classroom as long as I stick to the national curriculum and often I teach students on a one-on-one basis. On the other hand it’s also a challenging job. I come in and have 30 minutes to deliver a lesson with quality and depth, I teach students from the ages of 1 – 16 and I travel between many different schools every day.
For the last three months I have been working a lot within myself to change how I see, experience and approach my job. Because I had some experiences that manifested into physical consequences like stress and illness (which is something many people experience), so I’ve worked with changing my relationship to my job. And now I am starting to see the benefits of that process and I am seeing entirely new dimensions opening up in my work and in my relationship with the children.
The point that I’m going to expand on in this blog-post is a change I have made in relation to focusing the content of my work more on topics that the kids are passionate about and that I am passionate about. It actually started with a student in the second grade that is very passionate about ferries and busses and other vehicles. He has an abundant insight into bus-schedules; road structures, intersections and I noticed that when we started talking about this subject he’s was completely focused, attentive and thoroughly enjoying himself. So since then I’ve worked on these subjects with him and thus far we have made a ‘book’ about busses and right now we’re doing an article about ferries. Because the subject I am teaching is the Danish language, I emphasize that we incorporate points like vocabulary development, grammar, writing skills and pronunciation. But because the focus is on the project we are working on, a project that the student is passionate about, these elements come more natural and the students have a lot less resistance and reluctance to work with them.
So since seeing how well this worked, I’ve started a project about aviation with a group of students in the Preschool/1.Grade that are particularly interested in science and mechanics. I don’t know anything about aviation and I have basically never done physics in my life, so often times the students who are 6 and 7 year olds know a lot more than me and thus through this project we can go and explore aviation together and within that learn about physics and expand our vocabulary. These are students that usually are very ‘fidgety’ and don’t have a large attention span by the way. Here however they are completely and entirely immersed in this project and will even bring things from home that we can use to build our own spacecrafts or kites. Another project I am doing take its point of departure in ‘Nordic children’s literature’. Here I’m working with the rest of the students who are divided into groups based on their language proficiency skills and interests. The general project has to do with creativity, so we’re simply using the books as a base. So we focus on the illustrations, the theme of the books and with the younger students we’re working with creating our own books using similar techniques as the ones in the books. This is something I enjoy a lot and it has been a long time since I’ve worked with art in this way and the children enjoy it too. It was one of my 2. Grade students who suggested that we start working with collages. With the older students we have decided to do our own ‘movie’, which is actually also something one of the students suggested. This project has taken off in such a way that a student asked me if I could come on Saturdays to work on the movie.
All of these examples show how working with something that one is passionate about can change a situation entirely. And it’s not only the students who have become more passionate, it’s also me. I’ve started to look forward to going to work because I actually get to do things I enjoy doing like art and videos. Obviously me finding the projects enjoyable aren’t the first priority – but it is indeed a nice perk.
Like I mentioned earlier, after I have started changing how I approach my job I have been surprised to see how much different it can be and how many dimensions has opened up that I never knew was possible and to be able to actually enjoy my work and not come home exhausted and stressed has been humbling and something I’m grateful for.
I know that many people might say that they wouldn’t be able to do something like this in their field of work. So let’s use an example of a job that most people probably would see literally as a ‘shit job’: cleaning toilets.
Now – cleaning toilets is a job that is physically tough on the body if you do it for long stretches of time. Your job is literally to clean up after other people’s messes and you might think, “What could possibly be enjoyable about that?” However once one start to open oneself up to looking at solutions instead of problems, like I said, new possibilities and dimensions might open up that one never knew existed. Perhaps you would start noticing the posture and positions of your physical body while cleaning the toilets and start noticing what positions make your backache or your muscles sore. Then you could start playing around with moving yourself differently, being more present in your movements. Or perhaps you would decide to become the best damn toilet cleaner you can possibly be and start seeing how you can make your work more effective and effect yourself within it. Here it would for example also be relevant to work with and release any judgments one might have about one’s job being a ‘shit job’ and to start noticing the importance of the work one is doing. Another thing you might do is to listen to interviews on a device while you clean or perhaps you notice that the bathrooms you spend your day in have really nice acoustics for practicing your singing skills. Obviously there are people in this world in so dire working conditions that no expansion seems at all possible and this also doesn’t mean that one should simply accept a bad job trying to ‘make the best of it’, but that is an entirely different discussion. Because besides these examples, with virtually any job that we do we will be able to expand ourselves within it.
We might not be able to change the job or make it less hard or less tedious but what we CAN change is our relationship to it, how we see it, how we approach it and who we are within it.
For more support on how to practically assist and support yourself to change your experience and perception of yourself/your world I recommend the Desteni I Process LITE course. It’s an online course, its FREE and it has a very cool ‘DIY’ structure where you’ll learn basic tools that you can easily apply in your every day living while expanding your perspectives exponentially.
Investigate Desteni, investigate the forum where on is invited to write oneself out in self-honesty and where any questions regarding the Desteni Material will be answered by Destonians who are walking their own process. Visit the Destonian Network where videos and blogs are streamed daily. Suggest to also check out the Desteni I Process and Relationship courses.