It is time to embrace the hustle and bustle of new friendships, adjusting to schedules, and saying goodbye to late summer nights.
I know you, as a teacher, have spent countless hours prepping your room to make it warm and welcoming. You have lovingly arranged each seat and meticulously written out each name tag. Each book on the shelf has been hand-picked and each pencil sharpened to fill the room with the aroma of pencil shavings. Your bulletin board is a work of art that you spent hours arranging and removing staples until you were sure it hung straight.
You’ve lugged in boxes of treasures from thrifts sales and second hand stores that you have scoured to find this summer and pulled crumpled bills from your wallet in order to pay for all the things to make the space as inviting as possible. Money that will most likely not be reimbursed. I know your late evenings have been filled with pinning ideas on Pinterest that fit with the units that you can’t wait to dive into. Your lesson plans are arranged and color coded with the new fine tipped sharpies that were calling your name in the office supply aisle of Target! Oh and don’t even get me started on Target! (I’ll remember that for teacher appreciation week…) It has been a teacher haven of gorgeous materials that some how they knew you needed to have!
I know all these things in such detail because I was that teacher once. The start of the school year was always my favorite.
Now as a mom, it has a slightly different pull on my heart. A mix of such bittersweetness.
I’m handing you my baby. I’ll warn you I may cry. She is my world and my everything and I’m giving that treasure to you. I’m entrusting that you will build her up with love and positive affirmation. You will guide her in her choices and remind her to always have a kind heart. You will hold her to high standards because just like me, you believe she can achieve them.
When she fails, which she will, you will remind her that mistakes are how we learn. You will guide her to hold her head up high and continue to try. Leading by example, you will show her how to include everyone and think of others feelings before making a choice. That beauty comes from within and not just by the cute dress that she wears. She will look up to you with those big blue eyes and drink in every word that you say. She will believe that SHE truly can be and do anything because you have built her up and shown her the world of possibilities that are out there.
And if that isn’t enough, you will also teach all that academic stuff.
It’s a big job. I know. But like I did, you will create a family with these children in the year that you call them yours. And for that I can’t thank you enough. You have the hardest, most important job but I believe in you.
Who are you? What do you enjoy? What makes you…you?
I used to proudly respond that I taught second grade. That I had a classroom of students that were like family to me. Sure it wasn’t always apples on my desk and rosy cheeked students’ eagerly awaiting the knowledge I wanted to share but it was what I had wanted to do since I was little and I absolutely loved it. My classroom was my happy place. It was so much of me and my identity that when we made the decision for me to stay home with our girls it weighed heavily on my heart. Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being home and I’m so fortunate to be able to have that opportunity. I knew it was what was best for our family and I knew that I wanted to be there for all the little moments but there was so much of “me” in teaching.
I’ve been home with my children for almost two years now. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to be there to watch them grow, kiss them when they get hurt, tuck them in at nap time, and snuggle them on rainy days. We get to go on playdates and field trips to the library together. I snap pictures and send them to my husband throughout the day so he can keep up with what the kids are doing. The poor guy sees the fun we are having as he sits through meetings, disciplines kids, responds to emails, and all the other tasks that are brought to his office daily. But as Mr. Leezak quotes from the movie Just Married “You never see the hard days in a photo album, but those are the ones that get you from one happy snap shot to the next.” Man, there are some hard days. It sure isn’t easy.
And in so many ways my day gets wrapped up in the assembly line of diapers, snacks, and projects to make sure they are learning everything they need to know that I forget who I am. When you have three kids under the age of four you feel like you haven’t been you, in so many ways, for so long. Heck, it’s a good day if I get a shower and a WARM cup of coffee.
This winter I started doing “totschool” to help with the long winter days. With different themes for the week, I was back to pinteresting in the evening as I looked for fun “lessons” for my children. My laminator got a work out again and I’d sit with my oldest cutting future projects while she practiced cutting next to me! If you end up on my Instagram account you will see many of the adventures we had documented there. I had found a way to blend my two worlds together. And not only that but it has also made the day to day a little easier! Many of the lessons have helped my kids become more independent. They have certain chores around the house that they now know how to complete often while singing the Daniel Tiger “You can be a big helper in your family.” Sometimes they will ask for certain projects and my heart flutters. Other times I will hear my words spoken by my three year old to her little sister and I can’t help but smile. If I remember correctly the newest teacher evaluation scales discuss how you should hear the students using the teacher’s language independently. I needed the structure as much as they did. We all were flourishing. I had found a part of “me” again.
In closing, I guess I am still a teacher…it will always be a part of who I am and what I love.
Questions to ponder or comment on:
How did you transition from being a career person to a stay at home person? How did you keep your identity after children? What things do you do for you?