I have written about my feeling of superiority already. It seems only fitting to talk about the matching mirror image of this sense of superiority. That would be my sense of inferiority. For better or for worse I chose to be a public school teacher at the beginning of my career. I believe I was very good at teaching in the sense of teaching per se, and at the same time I believe I was extremely bad at classroom control.
Unfortunately at the junior high level classroom control is perhaps 80% of teaching. The children are growing, and they aren't children anymore but they aren't adults and they are experiencing tremendous changes in their psyche and their bodies. They have difficulty adapting to these changes and they are frequently out of control. They get happy or sad and their judgment is poor. Naturally they aren't bad people, but classroom control becomes very very important at this age. And I was not very good at classroom control.
I think the reason stems from deep experiences early in my life. I was always one year younger than my peers. As a result I was less emotionally mature and less physically mature than them and I felt inferior and I felt like I had no control over my peers or my social life. In short I did not feel like I could control people. Control is the simple word to use here. It's not quite appropriate. A better word would be influence or get compliance. I had very little influence over my friends, and my peers. Compliance was beyond my ken.
So naturally when I became a teacher I did not have any confidence that I could control or exert my will over the children. If I said let's study acts and they said no or more to the nature of children they did other things, like talk to each other or read comics. In those situations I felt powerless to make them focus on the topic. Of course sometimes I could get their attention with interesting or unusual behavior like an experiment but they wanted to see what would happen. But this felt like entertainment and I had limits to my creativity. I could not perform and make them astounded for 45 or 50 minutes I'm going throughout the day throughout the year.
Hence my feeling of inferiority. I have horrible horrible memories of feeling grossly incompetent as a junior high school teacher in Canada. When I look back now, I can see that I actually wasn't as bad as I thought I was. That's not the point. I was quite successful teaching here in Japan. But again that's not the point. The point is how I felt in those situations at that time.
And that incompetent feeling was like a dark cloud that I carried with me wherever I went. I put the dark cloud in my pocket, smiled and looked happy in many situations but the cloud would come out often without me wanting it. One of the results was heavy feelings walking to work on a Monday morning. It took all my willpower to push myself out the door up the hill to the train to get to work. Once we're started after about 4 hours I started to feel okay but I certainly know the Monday feeling.
My sense of inferiority is something that I'm working on now. I'm shaving away at it, just as I'm shaving away at my sense of superiority. The sweeping breath is having a tremendous impact on these two feelings as a result of my cumulative practice over years. That's why I can talk about this now. But it has taken a long time to crawl out from under this rock. At the end of the day skills and knowledge and intelligence have little meaning in contrast to emotional intelligence.