Some Things I learned Since I Stopped Being An Educator

Posted: November 16, 2012 in From Student to Teacher
Tags: , , , , ,

This week has been a sludgy kind of week, as I battled with a croupy kind of cough and heavy duty sinus pressure that caused painful headaches.  Whew!  I think this cold got me because I ran out of apple cider vinegar.  If you have never taken apple cider vinegar, YOU NEED TO START IMMEDIATELY!  It will transform your life.

So I was up late last night and caught the last half hour of a documentary called “American Teacher.”  It focused on four or five different teachers and their perspectives on living as a teacher.  The one that struck me the hardest featured a woman who became a mother and could only afford six weeks of maternity leave, and then had to pump breast milk every two hours and went frantically searching for an office or room she could use to pump.  As a mother who nursed six children, I related to that chaos.

Furthermore, she explains how tired she is all the time because her newborn gets up often; plus, she has all the demanding lesson planning time which is an ongoing process.  I did that too.

When I consider all the behind the scenes work that goes into being prepared for each day as a teacher, then the endless grading, and data entry of grades, and bulletin boards, and lesson planning, that so many teachers do each day of a school year, it really makes me want to slap the stupid people who have the audacity to tell teachers to quit complaining because we have so much vacation time off and puffed up pensions.  Little do they know…

In any case, watching that short piece of the documentary brought back memories of the decade I spent in the classroom and the classroom spent in my home, which dominated every moment of my life, or so it seems.

In the five months since I stopped teaching, here’s some things I reconnected with:

Instead of telling the kids the obligatory, “That’s nice honey,” when they pointed out the rainbow, I put down the grading and we enjoyed the beauty of the rainbow together.  Like the rainbow, their childhood is fleeting and I won’t get it back again.

I reconnected with nature and took a deep breath.  As I pondered the majesty of the world, I remembered my insignificance and for a moment I convinced myself that the world would function just fine even though I wouldn’t be doing my contribution to society any longer through the vehicle of teaching.

As the summer gave way to fall, I went on a hayride with my family in an attempt to lift my spirits, and despite the darkness of my mood, I found that there is indeed sunlight and grace through even the darkest periods.

I spent some time watching five and six play on a playground.  I marveled at the ability that children have to make “friends” so easily.  The natural bookish introvert that I am would never dream of hopping on a see saw with a perfect stranger.  Over and over, I watched my seven year old naturally blend with a group of her peers and within minutes they were screaming and laughing, and running around the playground with wild abandon and an easy camaraderie.  Ahh, if only it were so easy for adults.  When do we lose that gift?

Things aren’t perfect right now.  I feel at loose ends, my independent spirit has been thwarted, justice has not been served and soon I will be completely broke.  But I am going to continue to take deep breaths and hang on to my faith that this is the road I am meant to travel, and I will figure out my next step in due time.

Thanks for reading.

 

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