These words came out of my mouth several times this week. “I wish I didn’t want to be a teacher.”
This weekend I went to a brunch with one of my favorite momma friends and a couple of her employees. She is a wonderful boss of a wonderful company, and sitting around a table eating tartlets and fancy poached eggs and drinking bottomless mimosas, I thought, I wish I didn’t want to be a teacher. Because if I didn’t want to be a teacher, I would want to work here. I would want to sleep in past 6 and write pretty words on a pretty blog and go to brunches and have real conversations with women over the age of 10. And that’s where I get disappointed, because I do want to be a teacher.
For some insane reason, I want to be here. I want to be exactly where I am, sitting in this classroom, surrounded by construction paper and broken pencils and spilled apple sauce. I want to read storybooks and sit criss cross on the carpet and have thirty minute meetings about how to show empathy.
Life would be easier if I chose a different profession. I know that. Life would be easier if I chose a job I could walk away from at the end of the day, a job where I could put in my 8 hours and head home without giving the lives of 44 others a second thought. Life would be easier if I worked with adults, rather than ill-behaved fifth graders. Life would be easier if my work friends didn’t have to ask my permission to go to the bathroom, and if I never needed to have a confrontation about the amount of febreeze that is needed to make a room smell better. (spoiler alert: it’s one spray, not the whole bottle)
In sitting down to write this post, I have been interrupted every thirty seconds by the following questions:
Ms. Green, where is the tape?
Ms. Green, can I get water?
Ms. Green, where are the index cards?
Ms Green, can I go to the bathroom?
Ms. Green, will you sign my paper?
Ms. Green, is this right?
Ms. Green, are there any toilet paper rolls?
**wordless interaction: student puts paper and pen in my face, looks at me expectantly**
Ms. Green, so…where are the toilet paper rolls?
Life would be easier if I chose a profession that gave me answers, rather than endless questions. Life would be easier if I chose a profession that didn’t involve bathroom passes and reporting evidence of lice.
But at the end of the day, coffee spilled down my shirt, marker stains on my palms and mud splattering my shoes, I am full of life. I am more alive than I was when I began the day. I am tired, yes, exhausted, yes, wanting a tall glass of wine- yes. But alive. Fully and truly alive. For some inexplicable reason, every fiber of my being is called to be in this classroom with these kids.
My freshman year of college, going through training to be a Young Life leader, Brett Rodgers would always ask us, “what makes you feel alive?”
Four years later, I have a clear answer to his question: teaching. Teaching makes me feel alive.
I have found a profession that makes my feet sore and my heart full. I have found a profession that isn’t okay with the easy route, a profession that forces me to make hard choices and spend way too much time thinking about others. I have found something that makes me feel profoundly alive, and God willing, I will get to do it for the rest of my life.
So yes, sometimes I wish I didn’t want to be a teacher. Sometimes I wish I could sleep in past 6 (did I already mention this one?) and make my own hours and wear wedges and not worry about standardized tests. But at the end of the day, I am thankful. Thankful for the messy and question filled prepubescent little people who are giving me life.
You might also be interested in reading, “Why I Write in the Classroom,” posted in response to comments on this post.