Tuesday, August 16, 2011

school's out for ... me

I graduated from Louisiana Tech University in November of 2008.  I interviewed and was offered a job teaching  8th grade English and GT (Gifted and Talented) in Silsbee, Texas in December 2008.  My first day was January 4, 2009--and it was just me--a very young, fresh-out-of-college teacher coming in at midterm--and 130 hormonal teenagers who wanted nothing more than to make me fail.

But somehow in the midst of all that craziness, I fell in love with my students and what I did.  Now, don't get me wrong--there were many bad days.  And even more bad moments.  So many times I asked what I had done to myself; why in the world did I want to be a teacher?  The kids drove me crazy most of the time; the laws and paperwork drove me crazy all the time; and time was a luxury I no longer had.  Teaching is a job that doesn't end just because the school day is.  Innumerable people have made fun of the educational profession because of the numerous breaks and short days.  I would love for those people to spend a week (or it would probably take less) in the life of a teacher.  True teachers are also counselors and mentors, disciplinarians and uplifters.  They teach not only their content but also lessons of life and of character.  During the school year, a child spends almost 1500 hours with their teachers--some type of influence will be found.  We worry about them all the time.  We work unending hours, spending our own time and money planning the best lessons we can.  We adopt them as our own children.

My students used to ask me when I planned of having kids of my own, and my response was always, "I don't need any more.  I have 140 kids already!"  Of course, there was a bit of humor thrown in there as I have always wanted children of my own.  But on the other hand, I truly thought of them as mine.  Once they walked in my door, they became my student, my responsibility.  And I loved every single one of them.

Well, in February, my students infamous question was answered when my husband and I found out that we would indeed be having a child of our own.  What a loop in the roller coaster!  Since we first got together as a couple, we were in agreement that if we were financially able at the time, I would be a stay-at-home mom with our children.  That's actually one of the reasons we chose the career fields we did (other than truly loving the content)--he hoped to make enough money for me to stay home, and being a teacher was a job that allowed me to be a mom easily--especially after the kids started school.  Well now the time had come, but the decision didn't seem so easy.  We both wanted me to stay home without question.  But that also meant some major lifestyle changes for us. First of all, we would be losing my salary--and with student loans looming over us, that was a daunting thought.  Secondly, I would be giving up my job--and my kids.  However, we trusted God and the feeling he stirred inside of us, bit the bullet, and I resigned.

I really was ok.  I am still ok.  But now, as school is starting back up and my teacher friends are bustling around getting their rooms and lessons ready, my heart hurts a little.  This is the first year since I was in Kindergarten that I haven't gone to school in the fall.  I'm not sure what to do with myself just yet.  My mind is still racing with ideas that I would change from last year; classroom layouts that worked and didn't; lessons I can't wait to try.  I go to the store and see all of the school supplies and get a little sad (I'm one of those weird people who LOVES school/office supplies!) because I have no reason to need any of them.

I was able to go up to the school last week and visit with some of my coworkers.  And my room had started to change...  I think that's when it really hit me.  Now, granted he hasn't changed it that much.  But he painted it--which makes it look completely different!

This was what my room looked like two school years ago.  It didn't look like this when I left, but close enough to get the gist.

I LOVE the color he chose :)  And he's obviously not finished making it his own.

But it's also definitely not my room anymore.  I am a somewhat territorial person, so this is difficult.  That room, 312, was my second home.  Those were my kids.  It's really hard for me to give that up.

I know some of you reading this are thinking, "You crazy person!  You don't have to work!  Enjoy your time off!"  Please don't think I'm ungrateful for being able to stay at home with our precious Arabella.  But it's just a difficult transition--especially since she's not here yet.  I have no doubt she will completely turn our world around and take up every ounce of my time--and I can't wait!  But right now, I'm just learning to let go of a really big chapter of my life.

To all of the teachers out there--your jobs are often overlooked as something petty and easy.  I know better.  Take care of those kids like they were your own.  Grow a passion for learning in them.  Love them and love what you do.

To the students--you have the power to become something great.  Take advantage of the opportunities for education that you are given.  Study, learn, and be successful!

I miss that part of my life...but I am anxiously awaiting this new phase that will blow the rest of them out of the water!  I can't wait to meet this little angel wiggling inside of me

love, angie

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