It’s nearly 7:00 PM and still light out, which makes the big-flake slow snowfall outside feel much like a Saturday midday, during which I might actually be found sitting in my chair by the upstairs balcony window writing by the light of day, instead of a Tuesday evening on the very last calendar day of winter (this obviously means nothing to Mother Nature, nor should it.)
Regardless, it’s already mid-March in the middle of one of the busiest semesters I can remember. We’ve already hosted eight or ten horse shows this semester (I honestly can’t remember–it might be more than that) and attended two others with six others left to attend as well as three more to host, not counting the open shows. I hope it’s fair to say that I’m burnt out, tired in a way that’s hard to describe, looking forward to more open days and free weekends. To be fair, I would also be feeling much better about things if it were no longer snowing and it were possible to ride outside every now and then, warm enough to sit on my porch swing for a few moments and breathe some fresh air.
Despite my general grumpiness about the amount of freeze-dried semester still ahead (though this weekend’s coming show trip to California is a good incentive to keep plodding ahead) there’s a lot of season left to go–my collegiate team has two big shows ahead and the high school team’s season has only just started; they will compete through to the Nationals at the end of June.
Some criticism reached my ears today that some of my riders on both teams felt I was not being positive enough, not giving enough empowering feedback and focusing too much on the negative. At first, I was frustrated, taken aback, disgusted that just when I was starting to feel like I was really getting somewhere with these students that all along they had been crying themselves to sleep feeling like they had lost my love. After being asked by a solid third of my team riders (on both teams) to get more critical, a little harsher, a little more demanding to help them be stronger, more confident riders beneath the eye of a judge, this latest complaint set me back into a circle.
Then I started remembering other complaints: I’m too serious. I’m too lighthearted. I try to structure things too much. I goof off too much.
I had a teacher my freshman year who turned out to be not so great of a person, but I learned plenty from her–one maxim will remain with me, whether I spend time as an instructor, trainer, coach, or anything in between. “You can’t be all things to all people.”
At any time, one of my students is bound to not like the way I am doing things. At the same time, I will have a few rare students who will see me as their “one trainer,” that teacher or person that sticks with you, the one who teaches you the most you’ve ever learned and showed you the most. It’s simply an unfortunate fact of teaching, coaching or training–you will never please all of your students or clients, and I’m either going to have to learn to be okay with that and strive to keep improving or quit and move on to something where I won’t be judged all the time by students, superiors or peers. Rough? Maybe a little. Such is life.
For now, though, I’m going to let myself stew a little and feel sorry for myself, whether it’s going to help me in the long term or not. A little self-indulgent self-pity goes a long way.