|My little student trying to figure out the musical crocodile|
Three days ago I tendered my resignation. In January, I will not be returning to the classroom. In fact, I don't know when I will be returning to the classroom, although I am certain that at some point in my life God might bring me back there if it is indeed His calling (which it has been for the 7.5 years that I spent in the classroom).
When I told my administrator, she was thrilled for me. Not because I am a horrible teacher and she's glad to be rid of me (I hope not, anyway), but because she is genuinely happy when a new mom decides to stay home and spend that time investing in their little ones. She shared her own journey as a SAHM and had nothing but praises for that experience.
I'm of mixed emotions about the whole thing. You see, I love teaching. I don't love report cards or staff meetings or grading, but I do love helping kids learn and seeing their progress over time. It has been my passion and my calling for over the past decade, and unlike so many who despise their jobs and drag their heels to work in the mornings, I have always counted it a blessing to be able to teach, and to go to work and spend time investing in learners. This year, in particular, I had a dream class, and I enjoyed every single minute sharing and learning with them. They were energizing.
On the other hand, I love Baby L, and even being away from her for a few hours (e.g. when I went in to resign), is hard. I want to be available to her (it's the attachment parenting in me) and I want to be able to witness every milestone and seize every opportunity to facilitate her learning and growth. Nobody save for Hubbs has the same investment in her learning as I do, so the idea of leaving her with a near-stranger at the tender age of one, while I go to spend 8 hours a day with other people's kids, is unconsiconable to me. And being so blessed with a Hubbs who happens to do well in his work (and whose business is growing by the grace of God), there is really little reason for me to actually go to work. My income is, frankly, but a drop in the bucket relative to Hubbs.'
Being of two minds about it has been hard. It is difficult to relinquish my job and my classroom in a socio-economic climate where many teachers are being laid off or unable to find work. Even though I know in my heart that God is the one who provides, there is that very human part of me that doesn't like to stare down the tunnel of the future and have no idea what awaits. It's hard to think about not having daily contact with my friends who happen to be colleagues. It's challenging to not keep my teaching muscles limber, and there is a very real fear that perhaps my skills might atrophy from lack of use.
At the same time, I am excited about the future. In many ways, I haven't actually quit. I've simply down-sized from a class of 25 to a class of 1. There are so many neat experiments, field trips, and projects that I want to introduce Baby L to. There is so much joy in knowing that I get to be her first teacher, and because I actually have the credentials to do it, I know that I'll be teaching her well and preparing her to be a 21st century learner. I feel privileged to have time to lay down a foundation for her literacy and her number conceptualization. And it feels right that I don't have to miss any part of her toddlerhood, a period of time that goes by so quickly (so I'm told by other mommas).
Will next September be hard? Yes, when the leaves change colour and I see kids from the nearby school streaming into the playground at the sound of the bell, I will probably feel a bit wistful. And when January rolls around and I remember that my contract is done, that will probably be difficult too (a sting softened by three weeks in Oahu, however).
But I'm pinning nearly daily on Pinterest, and ideas abound from countless web sources on ways to help Baby L grow and learn and get excited about her world. It will be so much fun to do these projects and go on outings with her, and witness the wonderment in her eyes as ideas are formed and concepts are understood.
Despite being officially unemployed now (or fully employed as a SAHM), and regardless of some mixed emotions here and there, I have no regrets about Hubbs' and my decision. For us, this is right and this is good. The best is indeed yet to come.