Why is it that when I'm out and about on a weekday morning, and I see an acquaintance (not a good friend or someone who knows me well), and they find out I'm no longer teaching, they proceed to look at me as if I've performed a horrific crime against humanity? It's like they take my decision personally. I then, find myself trying to justify my decision to them. As if they have any right to question it.
Here's the deal. I taught school for ten years, and for eight of those ten years, I was exactly where I was meant to be. Don't get me wrong, it was hard. I had kids with severe emotional issues. I had enough paperwork to keep a small business running. I worked when I was at work. I worked when I was at home. I worked during the weekends. I worked during the summer. I didn't love every minute, but I was comfortable where I was.
But then years nine and ten hit. Call it burn out. Call it insanity. Whatever you want to call it is fine with me. Yes, Texas introduced yet another, more intense standardized test which increased our workload and our paperwork by at least 50%. Yes, I felt like I was being sucked dry emotionally and physically and being drug away from my family and my priorities. It's very hard to give your all to teaching and your all to being a wife and a mom. Some, like myself, may say it's impossible especially when you have young children. Teachers never leave work at work. Someone is going to suffer somewhere. Yes, discipline was awful and getting worse. I've been cussed at, had chairs thrown at me, called horrific names . . . it gets old fast, and I'm sorry, but the public school system has neither the resources nor the capability of "fixing" these children. And it's not the job of the school system. Their job is to educate not to raise kids and to try to compensate for all the atrocities that happen in their homes. And for the record, I was not a cold hearted teacher. Hence the sentence about being "sucked dry" emotionally.
Call it what you want. But it was time for me to quit. And the truth is it wasn't any one certain thing that did it. It wasn't the test or the paperwork or the fact that I found myself emotionally drained by the end of most days. It wasn't the discipline or lack there of or even the fact that I felt like my family was getting the wrong end of the deal.
And just so you know, if you're reading this, it most definitely wasn't your kid that pushed me over the edge. Because truthfully, it was probably your kid that kept me there one more year. Because in spite of everything, I loved my kids. I loved the ones that lost every single paper I ever handed them, and couldn't sit still for ten seconds, and sometimes almost sent me to Crazytown with their disorganization, but then they would do something so sweet and caring that I would tear up and smile like a fool all at once. I loved the ones who went toe-to-toe and head-to-head with me on a daily basis, and while I wouldn't back down, I certainly didn't want to break them because they are brilliant and will do brilliant things one day (but oh my goodness, I pray for their parents not to kill them before they graduate from high school . . .). I love the overachievers who wanted nothing more than to please, and it broke their hearts to mess up even unintentionally. I loved the ones who thought they couldn't do anything right but all they needed was someone to tell them that they really were pretty awesome. And y'all I loved the chair throwing, cussing, intensely broken kids. They needed love so much, and I pray that somehow I was able to break through and show them that they are indeed loved. I pray that they are able to overcome the enormously unfair obstacles placed in their lives and see the great potential God has given them.
No, it wasn't your kid that did me in. It was just time. I prayed, and I knew that it was time. See, I had prayed before, and just as readily knew, that it wasn't time. And God gave me the grace and the "want to" for five more years of teaching, but my desires changed. My heart changed, and while, I don't think God would've punished me if I had stayed in my teaching position. I would've been there out of fear of the unknown, and my heart would've most certainly not been in it. And ladies and gentlemen, a teacher whose heart isn't in it, is the last kind of teacher you want.
So please understand, we all grow and we all change. I've seen God bless my decision more than I could've ever imagined. Will I ever be in the classroom again? My heart and my head both say "no", but then I never what God has in store for my future . . .
I had every intention of uploading the pictures from our Colorado trip to my computer last night. It didn't happen, but as soon as I get them, I'll share. I know you can't wait. ;)