Saturday, 8 September 2012

School vs. Home

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     The first week of school has come and gone. Lunches have been packed, shoes have been tied, nerves have been soothed and first week jitters have been (hopefully) put to rest. If I wasn't a teacher myself I would have had no idea that most teachers are just as nervous about starting school as the kids. And if I wasn't a parent I would have had no idea that most parents are just as nervous as their children.

     I laid in bed the night before school started this past week and had to remind myself that I had nothing to worry about. My OB told me months ago that I wasn't allowed to go back to work in September, but I still felt those first day jitters for some reason. I think it was just a natural reaction to hearing that school was about to start and being so used to getting everything set up, organized and ready in time for those little kiddies to walk through my classroom door. And then I started picturing Mya's first day of kindergarten and started feeling emotional for her as well. Knowing that I won't be able to drop her off on her first day of school since I'll be greeting my own class of kids that morning is a really hard pill to swallow. I hate even thinking about it. I know that I'll be nervous for her as well. I think those nerves are just all part of new experiences, whether you're a child or a grown adult. They somehow never go away.

    As the first week of school has come and gone, and I got updates and phone calls from teacher friends updating me on what I was missing, how things went and how their classes were, it made me long for my life at school. I realize that stress, a lot of hard work and very long hours all go into creating a successful September for kids, but there's definitely a part of me that misses it...a lot. Teaching is what I've worked my whole life to do. Every exam that I wrote, every course that I chose and every late night study binge brought me to where I wanted to be: teaching.

     Ever since I was a little girl, lining up all of my stuffed animals in rows and pretending that I was the teacher, I knew that this was my calling. I knew that I wanted to do nothing else in life but teach. It wasn't about teaching the curriculum though for me. It was about being able to change little lives. The beauty of teaching is that you get the opportunity to step into the lives of young people and give them support that they might not be getting at home. You get a chance to be the teacher that that child looks back on years from now and remembers as someone who cared, someone who supported them and someone who took the time to get to know them. Sometimes a kind teacher is the only kind person that a child has in their life.     

     There's a Swedish proverb that states Love me when I least deserve it, because that is when I really need it. I always think of this as I'm teaching (and now as a mother too), because it's just so darn true. It keeps my focus in check and reminds me of what my intentions are both as a teacher and a mom.

    In saying all of this though, I still struggle with the balance between wanting to be the teacher that I want to be and being the mom that I want to be. It's the whole career vs. home life balance. There is a huge part of me that wants to be a stay at home mom...never having to drop my kids off at daycare and getting to experience every minute of their little lives without missing a thing. Just in the past month we've experienced so much together--from taking Mya and Oliver to the fair to see the cows...

and the piglets...

and the tiny little chicks.

To spending the afternoon at the Children's Museum...

watching the snakes...

...and hiding from the dinosaurs.

     But then another huge part of me knows that I can't ever imagine giving up my career that I've worked my whole life for. I've realized that the ideal situation would be for me to be able to bring Mya to work with me every day--that would just be great. A little Mya, a little teaching. Perfect.

 A girl can at least dream.

     I think what I've realized though is that this is just the time in our lives when we're starting our family and it needs to be our priority.

    I was on mat leave with Mya not long ago, and now I'll be on mat leave again with Carter. Although it appears that I might be putting my career aside for a bit to be able to be home with my babies, it's all worth it in the end. I figure if we're going to start a family or possibly even continue to expand our family in the future, we might as well do it all at once, have our kids close together and then I'll bring my career back into my life once again. It will always be a balance trying to give enough to both family and work life, but I think it's possible. I love my job, I love my family. So it's possible to make them both work together.

    But for now...all you fabulous teachers out there, congrats on surviving the first week of school! Miss you!



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