I’ll admit it: when I quit my job teaching high school Spanish, I was bitter about having to leave. I thought I would be swept off my feet to join my husband in Korea for three years, and it all fell through. I felt like I quit my job for nothing. I was sad to leave that place… I loved my students, my coworkers and (most of) the hustle and bustle that comes with being in high school. (No lie, sometimes I just shut myself off to the outside world in the morning before classes started! Sometimes it was scary in that hallway, haha.)
But I was sad. My kids were sad. Yes, most of the 100 of them. I gained a good deal of useful experience for the future, both in teaching and and in being a decent human being.
I said, “Well, I may not go back to full-time teaching, ever.” What?! Was I crazy?
I love school. Like, love school. I don’t think most can comprehend the level of nerdiness I am capable of. I love learning, and textbooks, and writing notes with my
very best chicken-scratch handwriting. I love the newness of the first day, with new outfits, new shoes, and new pencils. I love all those things as a teacher, too. I love seeing kids I’ve had before in class come into my room, comfortable, happy and ready to start a new school year (most of the time).
I love seeing the look on a student’s face when he understands, finally, how to conjugate ser in the present tense. Or the sense of rapport when a student is struggling with a personal issue and I’m able to help her through it. I love making jokes and laughing with my students. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. (For us, it was Napoleon Dynamite quotes. Dorky, I know.)
I went to a school yesterday for an interview. [I’m currently pleading with Jesus to give me this job.] As I was waiting for the principal, I was witnessing the (semi)controlled chaos of the end of the day. Students of all ages milling around, talking to friends, listening to their iPods, even a group playing Magic the Gathering. I love the craziness that it brings and I wasn’t annoyed in the least by loud voices and feet stomping.
School is where I’m supposed to be. Having my own classroom again would be akin to heaven on earth. I love that in those four walls, I am responsible for what happens. I’m the boss (but not a boss like “Like a Boss”, so don’t worry.) I’m also the mentor, big sister, friend, parent and tutor. I make split-second decisions hundreds of times a day. I inspire and encourage.
Now, this view of education wouldn’t really mean a whole lot coming from an idyllic green graduate. I’ve been around the block a couple times, and I know the downsides of education. I hate dealing with the politics and busy work. I hate the national mandates that make absolutely no sense because the people writing them usually have never stepped foot in a real classroom.
However, I choose to make those four walls my sanctuary. Our sanctuary, that’s free of bullying, put-downs and bad self-esteem.
I am a teacher.