Over 30 years ago, I told my mother when I finished 1st Grade that one day I was going to be a teacher. I think she doubted the certainty of my decision and laughed off the career announcement. Here I am, though, a happy and successful educator with 16 years under my belt. I may never achieve success outside of the classroom, as in becoming a best-selling author or a national speaker, and I'm OK with that. The real work happens in the classrooms, hallways, gyms, libraries, and offices inside school buildings anyway.
Some people say that Education is a business. Others say that Education is a public service. Some say that the job of a teacher is to teach the curriculum and maintain safety and security. Others say that the job of a teacher is to educate the whole child. After being a teacher for just 16 years, I must say that I agree with all of these views. As a teacher, I'm in the business of providing a public service to a community's children, and I am responsible for the education, safety, and security of those children.
The real work, though, is HARD, and by "real work" I mean the motivating, the inspiring, the guiding, the counseling, the listening, the advocating, the disciplining, the educating, and the future-preparing. The real work requires fiery passion. The real work requires relentless dedication. The real work requires rebellious change. The real work requires being willing to have your heart broken daily.
I didn't know what I was getting myself into all those years ago when I told my mom that I wanted to be a teacher. And teaching and learning has changed so much just in the time that I've been in a classroom. But I'm committed to continuing to do the real work, and I know that the real work is going to keep getting harder.
Much like any other hard-working person on this Earth, I like the feeling of being needed and appreciated and of having a purpose. Being a wife and a mother are rewarding roles, and my husband and daughter make me feel special in their lives (almost) daily. Taking care of others gives me purpose and instant gratification, which is why I struggle with being "off" for the Summer. I have to admit that I'm one of those (crazy) teachers who emotionally does not do well in the off-season.
I keep myself busy/distracted for as long as I can with Twitter, personal PD, school year prep, and reading, but I get to this time of the Summer (every. Summer. since. I. started. teaching.), and I feel absolutely climb-the-walls stir crazy. The laundry is done. The dishes are clean. The bills are paid. The house is spotless. But me? I'm a freakin' wreck.
I don't think non-teachers realize how much the job of teaching gives back to those of us fortunate enough to call ourselves educators. Designing fun lessons, finding ideal resources, delivering instruction to students, listening to class discussions, providing safety and security to children...these duties aren't just part of the job and the reasons for receiving a paycheck bi-weekly. They give me PURPOSE.
Since only a few of said duties can be done between now and the time I report to my new classroom, I will focus on finding resources to fit my new curriculum, and I will make plans for how to incorporate those resources into my units. I don't have to spend the next 5 weeks feeling rootless and frenzied. I can firmly plant myself back in the soil, roll up my sleeves, and find purpose in preparing for what I hope will be one phenomenal school year.
My name is