2월: What teaching taught me.
I have been super busy lately. I am in my final semester of school in Italy. Can you believe it?
It hasn’t been smooth sailing. January 2019 brought a lot of exams, a sprinkle of food poisoning and a few bouts of self doubt for good measure. It is easy to believe that people lead perfect lives. Anyone with a beautifully curated instagram feed is not necessarily problem free but as I have said many times, it’s hard to remember that when you are staring at a feed full of sunshine, bikinis and avocado on toast.
Sometimes I sit in the library scrolling through instagram imagining what life would be like if I didn’t decide to do a masters in Italy. If I had stayed in my comfort zone in South Korea or if I had decided to return home to London. I see my friends in the trendiest cafes London has to offer, the chicest rooftop bars in Seoul and basking in the sunshine in Taiwan. I always wonder …’what if’… but that’s not to say any life is without it’s own turbulence. What hit me particularly hard was when a teacher shouted at me earlier last month and basically implied that I didn’t deserve to be here and she said why didn’t you stay in the UK.
The motto of my university is ‘Aperto Al Mondo’ which means ‘open to the world’ and honestly at that moment I had never felt more unwelcome in my life. Maybe I’m not the smartest person in the room, but I am not afraid to work hard and try my best. It is frustrating to have someone who knows absolutely nothing about who you are as a person pass judgement on who they think you are with zero evidence.
Moving to Italy has now become one of the biggest regrets of my whole life. On a daily basis I face problems such as school drama, racism, self doubt and bureaucracy and basically things that I am ill equipped at dealing with with the alacrity and effulgence I aspire to have. I hope one day I can look back and say something different but for now it is. And maybe that is okay. You put yourself through things and leave your comfort zone to grow as a person and I’m definitely growing. It is not easy. It’s certainly not glamourous and it’s not even noteworthy. One thing I have learned is would to find comfort in being unremarkable.
I learned as a teacher that you should never put people down. You don’t know what people go through in their daily lives and you should not discourage people from their dreams. Your job is to teach and maybe if you are lucky to inspire . I tried to let that teacher’s words not get to me but it hurt. After surviving every hurdle I face being here to have someone make me question why I go through it all. Why did I come here to Italy?
It is because I am hungry for adventure and to me, the only thing worse than regretting my decision moving to Italy would be if I had never even tried in the first place.
For anyone reading this, it’s okay to have regrets and it’s okay to feel down. Life doesn’t always go the way we expect. Let’s keep our chins up and try our best to get through it the best way we know how.
And if you are a teacher who finds pleasure in crushing people’s dreams just know that you are TOXIC.