As I drove home from work on Friday, I was exhausted, but I had great thoughts flowing through my head on my long commute to pick up the kid. You see, I love my job. I really, truly, 110% do. Being a teacher makes me feel whole. And then it donned on me. My career fulfills me in ways my child can’t. A light bulb went off in my head with this thought. This is why I choose to work. Why I chose the career I did. Teaching is a true passion of mine.
As I begin my seventh year as a teacher, I have a whole slew of challenges facing me. A big part of that has to do with keeping up as I trudge my third trimester body around. The other has to do with my district transitioning to teaching to the Common Core State Standards. All that I’ve done as a teacher is changing. How I teach. What I teach. And new tricks are needed to keep the students engaged as they are challenged along with me. And this is coupled with the challenge I have of working with struggling readers alongside my two traditional classes.
I love a good challenge.
When a student’s eyes light up as they get a new concept, I’m fulfilled.
When I’m approached to help lead other teachers through this transition, I’m fulfilled.
When my students giggle as they learn, I’m fulfilled.
When I get that one student who fights me along the way of learning to finally give in and try, I’m fulfilled.
When my students can articulate what they are learning and what they need to do to accomplish it, I’m fulfilled.
These are things my daughter can’t do. Well at least not now as she approaches the age of four. But I do see her teacher’s eyes light up when I tell her that Abby is using the Spanish she is learning in PreK at home. My daughter helps to fulfill her teacher’s passion of being a PreK teacher, just as my 12 and 13 year-old students fulfill my passion of teaching.
My daughter fulfills me as a parent, not as a teacher, though I know as a parent I’m a different type of teacher to her. A nurturer. The one who shows her about manners and kindness and how to be a good human being.
I love a good challenge.
When my daughter gives me an unprompted, “I love you,” I’m fulfilled.
When my daughter puts her dirty socks on the stairs to go upstairs without prompting, I’m fulfilled.
When my daughter shows concern for others, I’m fulfilled.
When my daughter tells me how she’s going to take care of baby sister, I’m fulfilled.
When my daughter laughs her head off when she tells me a knock knock joke she made up…
Unicorn eyeball poop!
When my daughter calms down from a tantrum, and all she wants is to snuggle up with me as I wipe away her tears, I’m fulfilled.
Because my daughter fulfills me in ways my career can’t. She’s a different type of challenge I face on a daily basis. A challenge I’m so grateful to have.
These are moments when I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. What I’m meant to do. I meant to be a mom. And I’m meant to be a teacher. Both fulfill me, but in such different ways. And the fulfillment I get from each are translated to each other. The fulfillment of being a mom influences how I teach. The fulfillment of being a teacher influences how I parent.
I need each in my life. I crave each. Of course my family comes first. Always. But my career, well that is a close second. And I can’t wait to see what each of these parts of my life brings to me in the future.