For 8 years, I wanted nothing more than to have my own classroom. I graduated college with my teaching degree, had my certificate and had visions of crayons, themes and bright-eyed students ready to learn. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), the job market for teachers was rough, so I worked a few part time jobs until I found a job in education, it just looked a little different than planned. Fast forward 8 years and a wonderful Principal took a chance on me and hired me to teach 5th grade. It was one of the best moments of my life - a dream realized.
That was the beginning of a few years of craziness. Two kids and open-heart surgery led us to the very hard decision for me to leave my teaching career behind, for now. I've found new challenges and new passions, but I think I'll always be a teacher at heart.
This year I got to experience the other side of teaching - being the mom. Our son started pre-school and all of a sudden I looked at teaching with new eyes. I don't want to be "that mom" and hover, and I think I've done a good job of letting his teachers run the show. They are amazing with these little ones and I have so much respect for their patience, creativity and dedication. At the beginning of the school year, I had to hand my VERY upset two year old over to two women that I didn't know at all. I had to have faith and let go and for the first time, trust other adults with the care of my baby. In a minute I understood all of the emails, visits and phone calls I had received from certain parents. I was taking care of their babies for several hours out of the day, and they didn't know me. They knew I was a teacher and hoped that I would provide the best for their children.
Think of all of the teachers you know. Now think of one word to describe them all. Passionate. You can't be a teacher and not have passion for helping young ones. All teachers know that the "job" is SO much more than teaching how to read and add. Our son has learned so much this year, but I am most excited about his growth in independence and socialization. His teachers have provided a loving environment where he has felt comfortable enough to be himself and make friends. I am forever grateful to them.
Even if I never go back to teaching, I will ALWAYS think that teaching is the MOST important job in the world. Without dedicated teachers, we wouldn't have doctors, lawyers, inventors, writers, politicians or... more teachers. Teachers inspire us to reach for the stars and want to give us the knowledge, as well as the confidence, to chase our dreams. They are not recognized enough, rewarded enough or thanked enough. Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day, but I'm glad we do take the time today to raise up those who helped raise us. As a mom, I know I will be counting on teachers for the next several years and I am beyond thankful for the big hearts in those who teach our children.