I am not a teacher.
I am a stay at home mom. I am a work from home mom. I am an investigator. I am a homemaker. I am an aspiring writer. I AM a writer.
I am many things but I am no longer a teacher.
This has been hard for me to write.
Harder than I would have expected.
Recently I was faced with the choice of going back to work in August and placing LA in daycare full time, taking another year leave, or just resigning. When I took the original year leave of absence the plan was always for me to go back to work UNLESS (and it was a big unless) we could make it work on one income or one income plus whatever I could bring in. If we could make it work by cutting corners than I would stay home with LA.
It has always been my dream to stay home with my children. I understand why some women need to work and I even understand why some women want to work. But for me I wanted to be home while they were young at the very least. I cannot imagine anything else.
I think when we started the conversation my husband thought it might be best for me to go back to work for our financial sake. Soon after LA was born he was right on board with the fact that I needed to stay home with her.
It helps in the decision making process that I’m a teacher who doesn’t get paid a terrible lot. When you subtract the money for child care I was only bringing home a fraction of my paycheck. When you did the math on sick days we would both need to take or other issues that would arise (would I continue to nurse or pump? what about late nights for work? Would I pick her up when school was out and make her hang out at school with me if necessary? or would she stay later with day care? Would we have to do more vaccines that we were currently planning or earlier?) it just didn’t make sense. It came down to did we want someone else to raise our child during her formative years for us only to receive ___________ a month?
And the answer was no. It wasn’t an amount of money that was worth it.
For me it would never really have been about the money… to me, no amount of money was worth it as long as we could pay our bills.
So with all of that being said we made it. We have had many close calls and we are on a tight little budget but we are learning and getting better. I’m working Part Time from home for Florida Virtual School which helps a great deal. At some point I’ll get back on the wagon of writing and hopefully finish the next Great American Novel (he he)… or I’d be happy with a modestly selling novel that allows me to write another and then another.
So it was time for me to resign!
Or that was the plan…. however I did not.
I chose to take another year leave. Am I planning on returning the year after next? Not really. But I took the extra year for three reasons. The first is our crazy governor Rick Scott. I have tenure and I’m in the system. With all the nonsense he’s doing I’m afraid to let that go quite yet. The second is this crazy economy. Steve has an amazing job and they have been so good to us but it is nice to know I have a full time job with benefits waiting out there if necessary. And to be honest the third reason is I am just having a hard time letting go.
As foreshadowed in the previous post I find that I love teaching more than I ever thought I did and more than I ever even realized.
I was doing an activity with LA in the backyard a bit ago and it made me think of my Creative Writing course. I thought, “Oh that would be a great way to explain that concept to them.” And then I literally felt my heart fall in my chest when I realized that there would not be an opportunity to do that.
I don’t want to rehash what I said about how much I love love love my students or making a difference. It’s all true but I said it before and it will only upset me more.
I felt terrible telling the students who will be there next year that I would not. I was surprised by how much I wanted to be.
It’s just a bit of a shock to me that it was so hard to let go of something I never even thought I wanted. So hard to let go of an identity I never really aspired to. I blame my students for this 🙂
So yes, as many people have pointed out, I can go back. Perhaps I will. If I do it wouldn’t be for five years or more. I would like to have another child or two and I would want them to get into school before I did so it would be a ways off. And who knows if I could get back into the same position I had. I truly loved doing all three publications plus teacihng English, Creative Writing and Humanities.
I had to leave right when I finally got the schedule of my dreams. 🙂 It may not have been a dream schedule to some, in fact many told me it would be their nightmare, but I loved it.
I think too that I’m struggling a bit with my identity. When people ask what I do I fumble for a minute with an answer. I am not ashamed at all of staying at home. I’m not relaxing or taking a break from work… in fact I probably work as hard or harder than I ever did before. I just don’t quite know what to say.
So I will stop whining now.
To my students I will say, “Thank you for ten beautiful years. It has been a gift working with you. You have touched my life and changed me for the good more than you know. I love you… most of you. Just kidding. You have all taught me something and bettered me in some way.”
To my daughter I will say, “This is not a sacrifice. To be with you day in and day out is a joy. A blessing. The answer to a prayer and a dream come true. I would not be able to hand you to another every day and wonder what I would miss. I would be a terrible teacher as I spent all day wondering if you’d scrunched your nose and laughed at the pony, if you’d learned a new word, or simply what you had for lunch. I love that you fall asleep cuddled up against me and I love seeing your arms reach up for me when you are ready for cuddles. You are It.”
To my husband I simply say, “Thank you. Thank you for supporting me in my decision. Thank you for understanding my sadness in letting go. And thank you for the sacrifices you have made so I can be home with LA. You are an amazing man.”
I hope this didn’t come across as whining. I am so incredibly grateful to have this opportunity. It allows me to be home with LA and any future babies and to work on my writing at some point. I think it did just surprise me that it was harder to let go of the rest, harder than I thought. I’m so very happy with how things are…. I was just surprised at my reluctance to move on to the phase I’ve always aspired to. Just goes to show how great those students are again lol
And now on to this next phase of life! Teacher to one… but oh she is a special little one 🙂
LA showing her appreciation 🙂