A while back, I did a review of Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and wrote about my experience with using the Konmari method of tidying up. I often think about that short period of time where I felt fully satisfied with and proud of my space and the changes I’d made. I took the process very seriously and tried my best to internalize the many tidbits of advice and wisdom that Marie Kondo shared in her book. I felt like I made really important changes: I learned about how to let go of things easier and to cherish the items around me that truly “sparked joy.” I love to look at the before-and-after pictures of my bedroom and relive that time of total contentedness. It seems dramatic to believe that the simple act of tidying my bedroom is what could have caused me so much happiness, but it’s true. I felt accomplished, I felt organized, I felt in control, and free.
Since then, however, I have been living in a near-constant state of messiness, to varying degrees. It’s not what you might be thinking. I didn’t backslide (and according to Marie Kondo, she’s never had anyone backslide yet). I’ll explain.
I was having generally bad day today. I’ve been feeling really stressed about a number of things and it’s just been building up. Just sitting at my desk thinking about it all made me feel like crying. I’m not sure why I feel so down like this but it just feels terrible.
But I tried doing things to make myself feel better. Talking to my sister usually cheers me up, but seeing the notification of her unread message just added to my stress instead of relieving it. I tried studying Korean, which usually can take my mind off of anything, but instead I felt overwhelmed by all the words I didn’t know. Then I listened to music- something that always cheers me up- but I just felt bored and frustrated because I couldn’t find the right song to match my mood.
I was somewhat dreading my first class of the day- how could I teach when I was feeling so terrible? I thought I was in for a long, miserable day. But something amazing happened instead. Whenever I walk into a classroom, I try to be as cheerful and alert as possible – teaching requires you to always be “on.” So I mustered what positivity I had left and came into class with a smile (and candy, the kids love candy) and my students shouted their usual “HELLO TEACHER,” and instantly every bad thought I had had all morning melted away. Being in front of my students, seeing them happy and excited to learn, watching them sing and play games together, in turn made me feel happy and excited. It was the first time I stopped and wondered to myself, “Wow, am I a teacher? Is this what it feels like?”
Sadly I only had two classes today, so the excitement was short-lived, but it gave me a little hope in the midst of a tough situation. I don’t feel fully back to normal, but I have a little hope that it will get better, and I feel kind of surprised that above everything else, it was teaching that lifted my spirits today.
So last night I had my interview for EPIK! If you don’t know what EPIK is, it stands for the English Program In Korea and it’s a government funded program that hires native English speakers as ESL teachers and places them in public schools all across South Korea. As this is my second go-’round with EPIK, I thought I’d share my experiences and some tips for preparing for the interview.