Another school year is upon us and while most teachers are sad for the summer to end and anxious for the new year, they are generally ready to implement new techniques, decorate their rooms, and meet their new students. I am going to be completely transparent; I am not that teacher this year. I am the teacher who is wondering if she really makes a difference anymore in a world where violence and hatred seems to lurk in every corner. I am the teacher who is terrified that I am sending students out into a world knowing how to bubble, but not knowing how to be compassionate towards humankind. I am the teacher who cries during her conference because she takes on all the burdens and pressures that her students face. I am the mom that worries that my own kids will suffer from my over-dedication to my students. I am the mom who forgets snacks, special dress-up days, and sometimes I forget to check her backpack. I am the mom who is exhausted by the end of the day from giving all my energy to someone else’s kids and coming home on auto-pilot.
I am full of anxieties and fears for this new year, not only for what is to come as a teacher, but also ensuring my own child is getting a good education and balancing the job, my fitness routine, poor finances, rebuilding my marriage, coping with my depression, along with raising a toddler. Today I sat in a training and kept thinking about how I just don’t know if I have “it” in me anymore-that spark that used to help me connect with kids and relate content to their lives. The shadows of my fears and failures as a teacher and a mom are overwhelming me as the new year is upon us. And yet, my prayer is that all of you, teachers, moms, both working and stay at home, feel that you are not alone in your worry for what might come.
I have volumes of soul searching to do in my life in order to figure out what paths I am going to run down, but please know my life is not void of JOY. I am blessed beyond measure, but I must speak truth and invite you to reflect on the shadows that revolve around your career and how it affects your family and you as a woman. Use those shadows to empower your goals and vision for yourself! Spark up a conversation with your husband, friend, mom, boss about where you want to be. And most importantly, find balance in the rustlings of your day.
I am that mom, that teacher, who plans to get out the rusty, old balance beam and take it one day at a time.