August 15, 2018

(Not) Back to School

School starts today at my old building.

If you're unfamiliar with my current circumstances, I'm taking a year or two (or five) off from full-time teaching because we're going to be moving more than once in these next few years due to the army, and I have a baby to take care of and childcare would cost most of a teacher's salary in this part of the country.

Last minute mad dash to get everything done.
The month of August is threat-level midnight for teachers. My piles and to-do lists were always unreal. I LOVED it, but it's incredibly stressful.

Surprise hundreds of dollars I "need" to spend.
There's always ten last-minute somethings you need to buy or pick-up or "try" for the new school year.

Teacher icebreakers and meeting new staff.
While I always thoroughly enjoyed that first day back, going through the motivational videos, the powerpoints, the introductions to the new staff (turnover in Colorado is unreal) was exhausting. All I ever wanted to do was keep checking the gradebook online to see how many more kids were being added to my list and get back to my classroom to continue on with my to-do lists.
Oh, and the icebreakers. There was always some lame way to get teachers to "know each other" and share about our "summers". My summers in Colorado, I've mentioned before, usually just included painting and mowing the field, so this was always my least favorite question to answer.

Trying to figure out new kids and parents.
It's so exciting to meet new kids. I really enjoy it. I always make it a point to shake their hand and talk to them, not just their parents, at meet-the-teacher night. However, you never know what you're getting into when you see 30 new faces looking at you on day one. Or when you see their names on the class list and desperately try to figure them out based on their school picture from the previous year. Exciting, yes. Somewhat terrifying about the awe of responsibility you're about to undertake? Also yes.
And parents. Well, you can tell who will be hard to deal with based on their reaction to unpacking the school supplies on meet-the-teacher night. You can also tell who will be absolutely delightful and it gives you faith in the work you're doing.


In the end, I would go back in a heartbeat and I hope to after a few years. I taught for 10 solid years; 2 of them subbing, both day-to-day and long-term positions, and then 8 years in a row in my own classroom, in 3 different states.
But, by saying I would go back, I mean I would go back to teaching as soon as it worked for our family, in a different state, under different circumstances. I would not go back to my previous position, in my previous location. I'll miss a lot of the people that I worked with, but I won't miss teaching in Colorado because it made me dislike teaching so much of the time. I have no problem explaining and defending this position to anyone who would ask me about it: I have the experience in other places to back up my opinion that Colorado schools just aren't that great. In the end, I've realized that I am definitely in a bit of mourning for my current lack of a professional position, but I'm not in mourning for the position I gave up.

I won't list all the things I'll miss about teaching because the list is long, but a lot of what I'll miss are parts of school that I experienced in other places. Someday I'll get back to those, but this year off may be just the shift and reset that I need. Plus, going back late, after a maternity leave, even under the most ideal circumstances, would be a traumatic event for all involved I'm sure.

Scott put a pig next to him (a dog toy) because he's been putting away a shocking amount of milk lately. 

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