Teaching stories: September 4
6:17pm. I’m not proud of this view. I don’t wear this as a badge of honor. The lonely walk from classroom to parking lot has often been a walk of regret. I understand that the permeable boundaries I’ve single-handedly created have been portals to wonders and to painful realizations that I’ve missed out on parts of my life that I shouldn’t have missed out on. These days, when Sarah is at dance 6 days a week, until 7:30-8:00pm on weekdays, I have less guilt about staying late to organize, regroup, connect, and create. I can honestly say that I didn’t miss the ‘big things’ (well, except when I was on my expedition to the Arctic and I missed Sarah’s dance recital. Bittersweet, for sure.) But I’ve missed the ordinary that turns out to be the heart of extraordinary when I count out the years, months, days until Sarah graduates from high school, or when I watch her sleep and see, simultaneously, the stunning young woman and the sweet baby girl who slept with her Puppy.
I have yet to figure out this work-life balance, maybe because I don’t see teaching only as work. I see it as Me. Teaching brings me immeasurable joy. And, if I’m being honest, it compels my ego to feel rather good about herself all the while insisting that I work just a bit harder to do more….more….more.
I would like more balance. (I would also, for once, like to have a teacher to-do list that is actually achievable within a reasonable, finite amount of time.) I’m working on it. Definitely not as much as I could or should be. I wonder if I’ll continue to skirt around this truth, if I’ll begin to baby step my way towards a more balanced, sustainable life, or if I will be catapulted to the end zone, provoked by some life-altering event or epiphany.
Until I figure this out, I’ll try to be a little less hard on myself when I stay late and try to freakin’ celebrate myself when I leave on time.
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A year in the life of a middle school teacher