Monday, September 12, 2011

When I grow up...

When I was little, I wanted to be a geologist, artist, writer, illustrator, mission specialist astronaut, archaeologist, and even a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.  My choices were limited when my lack of height knocked out astronaut and cheerleader.  Teacher never entered that list.  It just... happened.

For the past 10 years, I have been home raising my children.  I tried to stay involved in their lives as much as possible.  I was warned before my transition to stay busy, or I would lose myself.  I followed that advice.  I was on every board and committee I could find.  I joined playgroups, volunteered at preschool, joined the PTA.  I ran the art discovery program, headed picture day at the school, and made the school yearbook.

With both children finally in school full time, I began substitute teaching last year.  It's a nice gig, if you don't have to worry about money.  I only teach at my kids school.  I feel just as involved as before, but now they pay me!
This past year, I watched the struggles of proposed district cuts threaten the very existence of the under appreciated and underpaid teachers I've come to know and love.  RIF forms issued in mass.  Field trips cut.  Technology taking a back seat to having enough desks.  Sports and music becoming a luxury item.
And yet... with all this, there are still hundreds and hundreds of people applying to each and every teaching job posted in the district.  The competition is fierce and completely unbelievable.  Why do so many people want these few crummy jobs?  Jobs that aren't even secure?  Jobs with pay cuts, class size increase, and a never ending line of people claiming that teachers are still just babysitters with the summer off?  A job where your job is to essentially raise other peoples children? 

Then I step into the classroom.  It fits me.  The smell of school supplies, the excitement of trying to control so many people in such a small space, the rag-tag children that either hate you or love you.  The feeling when you connect with a child.  That brilliant, heart warming moment when you think you may have made a difference.  The idea that in some non-heroic way, you may have saved someone just by loving them.  People don't become teachers... they are teachers.                         
I might not know what I'm going to do when I grow up, but at least I know what I am.

No comments:

Post a Comment