“A kiss, a cry
Our rights, our wrongs
A moment, a love
A dream aloud…
And we won’t stop until it’s over
We won’t stop to surrender”
- McKenna, Lori. Song “Sweet Disposition” Temper Trap
When I first started the Social Studies job in September, I was overwhelmed. I had a textbook, an accompanying notebook, and two fat curriculum binders. The teacher had only introduced me to two classes before she left.
No plans, little direction.
While I was pretty sure it was impossible, I wished for the weeks to somehow fast forward like magic. Rather than experience them, I wanted to arrive at the end of them. One day at a time. I jumped from rock to rock across a wild river.
I lived for:
Where was the teacher I had trained to be? Where was the woman who made eye contact, full of confidence at the interview? Where was the mother in me who had rules, standards and consequences?
I was ashamed at my fear.
When I came home, I was a seashell without body. Nothing left to give. Meals were mediocre, time was spare. Weary bones hit my pillow an hour earlier than before.
I had little to give as a wife, mother, and WRITER.
I clung to the textbook like a life raft, knowing I needed to loosen my grip because I wouldn’t drown without it. Even if the teacher needed it, I had to trust myself. And I had to be willing to make more time. Precious little time. To plans lessons. Innovate.
Didn’t I promise innovation in my interview?
Hadn’t I mentioned differentiated instruction to reach all students?
Some children demanded it in their own ways. Protesting against boredom. So I planned a project. And another. And another. The hallway walls became lined with evidence of learning:
A few students thanked me for the fun they’d had.
And I began to have fun too. And I relaxed.
There was less:
Work to take home
Time for my family
What about discipline? Ups and downs like waves, was no way to run a classroom. I still struggle with that. But I’m getting there. In fact, this week, I get it.
Near the end.
Friday is my last day with the students as their sole teacher. Monday is the day the teacher returns. On Tuesday she takes over.
And I will go.
Students, parents, and teachers have said lovely things. I’ve received gifts. Hugs. My eyes have begun to fill up, but they haven’t yet run over.
That will come.
I ‘m glad that magic didn’t intervene to let me get past this, when I needed to go through this experience. I’ll surrender the job, but I won’t surrender:
The relationships I’ve made.
The lessons I’ve learned.
The lessons I’ve shared.
I buoy when a parent tells me a kid loves my class. Truth is, I love every single one of my students. And I will miss them. As painful of this is becoming, it is a bridge.
I won’t surrender my dreams to become a full-time teacher, or a writer.
What lessons have you learned?
What dreams are you trying to achieve?
"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another."