My first day of student teaching I was so nervous I seriously considered dropping out of the program. Then I entered the classroom and KNEW I was where I was supposed to be. That nervous feeling never left, though- I was always nervous at the start of a new day- worried about whether or not my lesson plans would work out as I had hoped. Worried that I wouldn't be able to connect with the kids. Worried that I wouldn't meausure up to expectations.
But then the bell would ring and class would start and I would fall in love with being in the classroom- fall in love with teaching, with being able to interact with the students and help them prepare for college and life, fall in love with the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing you have done a good job.
I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5. I used to make my siblings play school with me, only I was always the teacher. I would line up my stuffed animals on my bed and teach them (which is an excellent way to learn the required material of the course, by the way). For 5 years I got to live my dream.
I was good at teaching, too. Parents still e-mail me or stop me at the store and tell me how much they miss me. I'm not saying that to brag, I'm saying that because it is nice to know that I was able to have an impact on students and be an influence on them in their lives.
And now it is coming to an official end. Of course, I can always reapply and go back, but for now my tenure is ending. I got the resignation papers in the mail and it is time to send them in (one of the very few perks we get as teachers is a very long extended leave- we get 3 years maternity leave- unpaid, obviously- before we have to go back).
I wasn't sad about it until I started typing this post.
Since staying home with my girls, I have noticed more and more a negative attitude toward stay at home moms. Not from my friends or family, of course, but in the media. I have seen so many characters in a show say something along these lines, "my mom gave up her dreams when she had me," that I can not even count.
I really want my girls to know, though, that I am not giving up my dreams to be home with them. They are my dream! The greatest thing about the Feminist Movement-in my opinion-was that it gave women choices: my CHOICE is to stay at home. Nobody is making me, this is what I want (even if some days I wonder why).
In reality I don't miss work. What do I remember most about teaching: ALWAYS being stressed! Even during our long vacations, I was ALWAYS thinking about teaching. I would get so mad/jealous of Ben because when he comes home from work, he comes home from work. I was always thinking about work- you teachers out there know exactly what I am talking about. Anyway, my point is that it really was WORK. It was HARD- and then you would have an angry parent or student, or politics in the office (SO much politics in the school system- I can't even tell you!!!), that I often would lose sleep. I don't miss that. I don't miss the grading. Or the lesson planning. Or the 5:30 wake-up time. Or the stress, stress, stress.
I had 5 years to live what I thought was my dream. And it was great and I would never change that for the world because it taught me what my true dream is: to be a mom. Now I will never have to regret never "fulfilling my dreams" because I am lucky to have the best of both worlds- accomplish what I thought was most important and then move on to the next stage of life which is even better and more important.
And so I officially close that chapter of my life to enter a better, more challenging, chapter. I don't get the accolades (usually free movie tickets) or the applause that I once got. But I get a slobbery kiss, a play date with friends, and two of the greatest kids ever born. What more could a woman want?