Friday, August 2, 2013

Conflicting Emotions

So. It's August. I haven't posted since June. To be honest, I wasn't intentionally neglecting the blog, I just found it difficult to come here knowing that it's summer and that, come September, I probably wouldn't be teaching.

That probably has pretty much become a certainty. Just before the school year ended in June, thanks to the class I took that started this whole blog in the first place, I was offered a job as the social
My new job: I even have business cards!
media coordinator for NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English). This is only a part time position (and it's work from home!) so I theoretically could teach and do this job too, but I've decided that this year is an opportunity for me to take some time and do some thinking about my future in the classroom. Maybe I'll substitute teach, maybe I'll find a part time job at a book store, or maybe I'll just use that extra time to write.

But lately I'm finding myself with some interesting conflicting emotions.

The other day I went into my garage, where my classroom library currently resides. I was searching for some books to send to a friend who teaches high school and is looking to bring more
My classroom library sadly waits to be extricated from my garage
middle grade literature into her classroom.  As I was looking through all of my books, this feeling of longing swept over me. I looked at all of those boxes, piled one on top of the other in my sweltering, dusty garage, and I suddenly wished I had a classroom to put them in. I was sad that I would not be sharing the joy of reading with my own group of students come September.

But that feeling of longing is also paired with another emotion.  As I'm thinking about how much I wish I had my own classroom again, I'm also thinking about this summer. About all I have done and seen. About how relaxed and happy I have been that I no longer feel the pressure to always be doing something for work. I can go out and run errands and not constantly feel that tension in my entire body that tells me, "You don't have time to do this. You should be doing (insert teaching related task here) instead."
Appreciating this time to just enjoy life

But then we had some of my husband's friends from Germany come visit us here in Michigan this summer, and despite the fact that there was somewhat of a language barrier between us (my husband speaks fluent German but I do not), one of them said to me very seriously and poignantly, "I think you miss your students. You need to go back to teaching."

I agree with her. I don't think this is the last you'll ever see of me in the classroom. But I also think that I am going to relish in the time I have this year to just BE. Instead of always worrying about test scores, curriculum mapping, report cards, responding to parent emails, grading essays in a timely manner, I will take some time to just enjoy life.

I wonder though: when will teaching be a profession where enjoying life isn't met with feelings of guilt every time you want to have one.

1 comment:

  1. I am right there with you, Beth! I miss teaching. A lot. I've poured myself into other things like volunteering, crafts, cooking, cleaning, and getting ready for the new baby. We might get reassigned next year, so it's foolish to get started somewhere and have to start all over again. But I know I will go back when the time is right. You're doing the right thing allowing yourself some "think time". The right thing will come along and when it does, you'll know it. In the meantime, enjoy the new challenges of your NCTE job and finish that book!