Thursday, September 4, 2014

Teacher Mama

I have had a rocky journey the past few weeks.

I am in my nineth year of teaching at my school, and my fifth (or is it fourth?) year of teaching middle school. I have mentioned this before, but I feel at home teaching middle school. I truly, truly think it's what I was BORN to do.
There have been some talks that my district may eliminate the middle school grades at our k-8's and that would mean that I couldn't teach English and World History anymore (because I don't have a single subject credential) and I am going to be SO VERY sad if that happens. Of course, I'll find something else I'm passionate about. I'll have to.
I have been doing more and more trainings for teachers (last year I did three all-day trainings for all the 7-12th grade English teachers in my district) and LOVED it. I didn't love the content I was teaching, but I loved teaching teachers. This year, I will be doing a few other trainings for teachers (including one in a couple of weeks on a new Assessment Training System) and I am being led in that direction of teaching adults too!

With all the possible changes coming up, it's been a weird start to a year. I can't even pinpoint why I've had such a weird feeling, but it's just felt so different. This year, I have over 80 new students (between my homeroom, yearbook class, English, and World History) and probably about 40 students I had last year. This year is the first year I didn't play a million name games and stress myself out with all the names, trying to learn them in the first couple days. Instead, I learned named organically. I passed out papers with their names, looked at students when I took attendance, and walked around while they were working, checking out the names on their papers. And I have to say, THAT part of the year has gone really well! We are now in our third full week of school and I have all 120 students names completely down. Whew! That is by far my least favorite task of the year. I can't even imagine how many new students' names I'd have to learn if I taught high school! Eeek.

In addition to the weird start and name learning change this year - I also really wasn't at all ready to give up my Stay at Home Mama job this past August. I enjoyed being a SAHM this summer, now that the kids are a little more independent (the previous four summers I had infants and/or non-potty trained toddlers) and this was the first time we could actually go out and do things. The summers before that, with three kids three-years-old and younger, it was too much to enjoyably handle by myself and so I was so pleasantly surprised when I was so sad to give it up this time around.

It's been quite the transition not snuggling and napping with all my little cuties during the day:
 It's also made it hard on my hubby and me. It's always quite the transition for everyone when I go back to work, especially because we're used to spending one weekday a week together and suddenly I only get to see him every other weekend. We need a date like nobody's business.
I know all women can relate to this next struggle I've been trying to figure out: fitting it all in. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Seriously.

We're trying to find time to fit in volunteer days (we volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House with Mr. Howard's coworkers in the photo below), volunteering for Connor's kindergarten teacher, finding time to run and train for my half marathon, still going to our Mothers of Multiples Group events...plus I just joined PTA for Connor's school. Insane. Oh and, of course, all the normal life craziness with two full-time working parents and three kids!
Two nights ago, my husband surprised me with a couch date night and movie Mom's Night Out. Have you seen the opening scene? Oh Holy Moly. I laughed my TOOSH off. That scene where she wakes up to her kids making noise in the kitchen and comes out to find they're cooking for her (aka making a HUGE mess!). She then tries to clean kids off, only to hear one of her kids shouting, "Mom, Beck's playing in the toilet again." Then as she's running to handle that, she sees another child with a marker in the kitchen drawing on the wall. While I haven't had those exact things happen at one time in that order, I certainly have had moments where I've thought, someone seriously needs to be taping this. This is so ridiculous it could be in a movie. No joke. That's how I've felt the last few weeks. I could tell you poop stories for days. But I won't. 


Instead, if you want to know what my life is like (minus the police station and not being able to find a child), just watch Mom's Night Out. They absolutely nail the exasperated Mama scenes. I feel like I'm eternally asking my husband, "just tell me it's going to be okay." In the wise words of Patricia Heaton's character, I have to keep reminding myself, "It's all going to be okay...Just give it five years...five...or...seven...years"

But, you know what, while this job is hard. Oh so very hard. It is also the most important job I have ever done. Ever. And when I'm having a bad or hard week, I try to remember how quickly these days go and how much my kids love me unconditionally. 

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