It has finally come. Glancing over at the alarm going off in our bedroom to signify that it was time for Rich to get up, I rolled over with deep indignation. In less than a week, I will be waking an hour earlier than him. Walking zombie-like into the kitchen to make the coffee. Turning on the hot water, then the cold water. Dancing around in the bathroom waiting for the water to regulate. Sleepily making a lunch that always seems to be missing something-like, the sandwich- and joining the rest of the working world in the that blasted line for the parkway.
At precisely 7:35 I will be staring at the inside of my classroom instead of the inside of my eyelids. For those of you who scoff at the notion of a teacher complaining after she has gotten nearly three months off, let me explain something to you. I was unable to unclench my fists or my jaw until mid-July from school stress. I finally began sleeping through the night toward the end of the second week of August. And then, in the third week I was back to organizing, preparing, studying and stressing over going back to school. Total vacation hours? TWO WEEKS. Woe is the life of a teacher.
I have applied to more jobs that I could count over the summer. Jobs with the allure of only working 6-8 hours a day and leaving the work THERE before coming home. A job where what I do would be appreciated and respected by functioning adults. A job where I would look forward to going …where I would feel called to be…where I could utilize my skills and talents…where I wouldn’t have to be concerned if that student I failed would be waiting for me by my car…or outside of my door…with a weapon…or a chair…or worse…a parent. Where I could drink a cup of coffee, for goodness sake and wear open-toed shoes.
Alas, here I am, public school teacher. Again.
So, rather that let this simple fact overshadow my life this year (those of you who know me understand that last year I’m pretty sure “myself” disappeared into a bundle of self-deprecating, second-guessing, stressing, sleepless, panic-attacking mess) I have already decided to approach this school year with a new vision and manner in mind-and am pleading your help in this mountainous endeavor.
Fact: I would rather not be teaching.
Fact: Regardless of how I feel about it, I WILL be teaching.
And sooooo, I am determined to grin and bear it, so they say. Make the best of it. But am praying for even more than that. I’m not sure why God wants me in the classroom, but it’s apparent that he does. So, with that knowledge, I will do my best to wake with a smile, leave my stressing at the door, approach the day with something I love in mind. I will plan things to look forward to every month…every weekend…everyday-that’s where you come in, if you choose. Dinner with a friend, a movie, a new book, a weekend away. I will thank God daily for the job that I have that provides the support our family needs and a fresh supply of spit-balls in my purse.
At work, instead of being a grammar pusher, a paragraph stickler or a homework nazi it will be my main daily goal to make my students laugh. To teach them that being who they are is awesome enough-they don’t need to be anything else. To revel in their differences instead of beating each other up over them. To encourage them that the world stretches outside of their city boundaries, to read the newspaper, explore their own thoughts and ideas instead of spewing out everyone else’s without even thinking about it, to communicate effectively(preferably without the F-word) and be normal, civilized human beings who will (hopefully) be able to write and read. Doesn’t sound like a tall order, I’m sure, but you haven’t witnessed a classroom full of thirty hungry, bored, tired and hot seventeen year olds who amuse themselves by seeing who could hit me first with a paper airplane. Yes, they still make those.
I, of course, will document my progress on both the attitude adjustment and the paper airplane problem. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I am attempting this thing of not letting circumstances decide my future- or take my joy. So, if there’s anyone interested in a hay ride and a pumpkin picking excursion, my September fun-day slot is open!