Today is the first day of school for the district that I was a part of not only as a teacher these past few years but as a student growing up. I knew that when I made the decision to stay home that this day would come and feelings were going to be felt. It has been hard to wrap my brain around the facts that I am not with my staff, I didn’t set up my classroom, and I won’t be welcoming a new bunch of 8 year olds into a new year of third grade learning adventures. But then again I have had this overwhelming sense of peace about this decision to stay home with our girl.
A friend texted me this morning offering his prayers for me today. His mom is a teacher and he knows. Teaching isn’t just another job – it’s a vocation, a calling in life for those people equipped with the gifts of impacting students lives in such a way that they are willing to put up with the many (MANY) hardships that come with the job. He said something that made me feel a little bit more sane about this situation.
“Sometimes even when you know it’s the right thing, and you really are happy about it, there can still be a twinge of pain from missing something.”
So I’m not crazy.A part of me was feeling guilty for being bummed about the start of the school year. I mean, I am the one who decided to stay home – this was MY choice. I should be happy right? I shouldn’t even be thinking about school, right? Wrong. I was so relieved to read his words today because they were the best reminder and exactly what I needed. It is ok to feel like I am missing something. I AM missing something. I’m missing people and kids and my job that was everything to me.
There are people that would give anything to be in the position we are in. I know it breaks so many of my friends hearts when they have to drop their babies off at daycare to continue working and I know that I will never regret a moment spent at home with our family as it grows in these early years. But there is something missing. I missed the days this year when I would spend long hours up at school before the start of the school year setting up my classroom in the unairconditioned heat. I missed the staff development week for teachers – learning about everything new that would come with a fresh new school year. I missed reconnecting with coworkers and hearing all about their summer escapades. I missed the jitters I would feel trying to fall asleep before the first day of school – knowing that my future students were probably feeling just as excited and nervous as I was.
And yet I know that this is where I need to be right now. Not in the classroom but learning new lessons at home. I am learning more about myself, life, my family, and God’s will each day that I stay home in this new role. Like I said before, I feel a sense of peace about this entire situation but that doesn’t necessarily excuse me from feeling a little left out of the new school year excitement.So to all of my former coworkers and teacher friends (and family!): I wish you the best school year yet. I hope your students have a great first week back and that you enjoy getting to know them and all of their little quirks. You are doing a job that you are meant to do in every way. But remember that it is so much more than just a job and when things do get tough this year (because “that point” always comes during the year) know that you are appreciated by many even when they may not say it and you are needed by those around you even though you may not believe it. I can only hope and pray that Madeline gets teachers as amazing as the ones I know and love.
To parents dropping off their kiddos for their first day and teacher friends alike – Happy 2014-2015 school year!