Teaching is hard.
Not that it is harder than other careers by any means, but I have learned in my time practicing in this profession that it is its own type of hard. There are days when I have to sit in the parking lot for a second and gather my patience before heading home to my family. Do you know how hard it is to stretch your sanity and patience across a ton of kids that you don’t actually claim as dependents then go home and attempt to scrape up just a tad more in order to be a loving parent at home? Or how hard it is to stand on your feet all day only to be stuck thinking up what your going to cook for dinner once you get home? Sometimes I catch myself staring at the clock at 3:15 as the bell rings thinking to myself, “I still have at least five solid hours of parenting tiny humans before I get to go to sleep.” Honestly, there are days when I’m so tired that I say to myself, “I can’t,” but somewhere in those hidden parenthood energy preserves I pull my adulting pants on and I head to my second passion—motherhood.
Right now, as I write this column, I am sitting on the edge of my daughter’s bed waiting for her to finally fall asleep. Time change is great, isn’t it? I can hear my bed whispering to me from across the hall, but my daughter’s hyper chatting is louder. I had a long Monday and it is almost ten o’clock. My students were chatty today and most have already checked into spring break. After the school day wasn’t much better. I spent the evening settling sibling disputes because both kids didn’t get enough sleep last night because time change does unbelievable things to a toddler (but seriously, no parenting book prepared me for a time change). My brain is fried like an over easy egg on a Saturday morning.
Before I digress into the levels of my exhaustion tonight, I will move closer to my point. My profession is hard. So hard. It is hard in a way that nobody could have prepared me.
Like the fact that I go to bed every night worrying about all of them. Sometimes I go to sleep worrying about the students I have since sent on to high school. Nobody could have prepared me for the way a teacher loves her students.
If someone had told me there would be days I would skip lunch to help a kid get caught up on a project that isn’t even for the class I teach, I would have called them crazy.
If someone would have told me that there would be afternoons where I lost track of time and stayed hours over my contract time working on a giant game board to motivate my students to read, I would have never believed them. Teachers have the best schedule, right?
Nobody could have prepared me for the weekends spent grading essays, and nobody could have prepared me for the dependence I now have upon the chocolate I keep stocked in my desk drawer.
Nobody could have prepared me for what it is like to teach multiple novels at a time. Do you know how many times I have reread the same book or how many books I have read since becoming a teacher? When I’m not rereading a book for a unit I am teaching, I am reading new books for future units I’m looking into or I’m reading a professional development book so that I can be a better teacher. I love reading don’t get me mind, but some nights I really just want to binge Criminal Minds on Netflix and call it a night.
I could go on and on about the difficulty of being a teacher, but you know what I can also go on and on about? I could easily talk your ear off about how absolutely amazing this career is. I truly love my job. Most days, assuming my three-year-old doesn’t drive me insane before leaving the house, I’m excited to dive into a new day with my students. I drink a lot more coffee than I used to, and I eat a lot more birthday treats than I used to, but my goodness what a blessing it is to be a teacher.
The past few months, I have been suffering from terrible migraines four to five times a week. These are not your average type of headaches either. When I have one, I usually don’t show the pain, but inside I’m usually dying. Well, apparently, my students have noticed some behavior changes in me. Last week, my homeroom wrote me a note asking what has been up. “We have noticed you have been acting weird,” the note said. It went on to ask if by chance, I was having problems in my marriage, but you get the idea. As silly as these kids can be, they notice everything. Of course, I assured them that my personal life is just fine, but I did explain to them that I am dealing with constant migraines. I’ve been taking some new medications to help with the migraines, but it has been a slow process. However, now that my students know, I’m offered a variety of relief suggestions they have found via Google.
It is hard to have so many children occupying the real estate in my heart, but how beautiful is it that I occupy the hearts of so many young people?
Teaching is hard, but it is equally as much a blessing.