For the past eight years I have taught in the same rural school as a primary grade teacher. As a small K-8 school it's a community school, a place where kids are still kids and where everyone is connected. It's a school I've always held dear as I attended the middle school program myself many years ago and it still holds onto many of its core values. I love teaching. I particularly love teaching younger children; they still find school a magical place and view their teacher as one of their favorite people. I know this because I am often one of the people they share their most exciting news or treasured items with. There's a thrill for me watching something "click" for kids as they suddenly understand something or realize they are a competent learner. I enjoy taking complex subject matters and making them approachable to even 6 year olds, and then hearing their enlightened points of view on the issues. I like collaborating with other adults in order to help make school a successful place for each child in my classroom. There's something incredible about watching the progress both an individual and a group of kids make in one year's time. Eight years in and I still find myself excited to go to my job.
But three years ago I became a parent, an equally amazing and rewarding "job." What I experience with other people's children I now experience at home, on a daily basis, with my own child. He too finds the world magical, lights up when something clicks, and shares enlightened kiddo perspectives. He too blows me away when I stop to think about the amazing progress and change he makes each day, each week, each month. When my second arrived, I started this amazing process all over again. Motherhood continues to give me moments when I catch my breath over how much I love these little people and how their accomplishments are a greater sense of pride than my own accomplishments. Figuring out how to crawl across the floor beats a Master's degree any day. Three years into parenthood and I can't imagine my world without them.
So I was struck last year with trying to balance these two essential elements of my world and finding myself failing a little. With the arrival of Little Brother I was blown away with how quickly Big Brother's young childhood is flashing past us and knew I needed more time with both my boys. Although I deeply appreciated and respected the work our daycare teachers did, I knew I wanted to be there for more of these early years. Yet I also knew I couldn't completely step out of the classroom.
And so this year my school board has granted me a gift, the opportunity to work part time. Although an unusual situation in the primary grades they have hired a second teacher to work in the afternoons so that I can come home and be with my own kids. By doing so they have shown that they support me as a teacher, but also as a person with other facets to my life outside of my job.
I know that there will still be balancing this year and there will still be the classic moments of "working mommy guilt" favored in one direction or the other. But I also know that this new balance is one I'm looking forward to taking on because the rewards in all directions will be great.
|The boys this afternoon "playing trucks together" on our first afternoon home.|
And just in case you were wondering, I'm still hoping to keep on blogging and sharing it all . . .
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