Four weeks ago, I was meeting with my partner teacher, discussing the curriculum I was to teach this year. I was a bit nervous about starting at 2 new buildings, but just so excited to get back into the classroom (after a 3 year hiatus to have babies) to work the minds of those teenagers, introducing new books, getting some great writing out of them, etc. And then I came home to my cancer diagnosis. And I knew what I had to do.
A lot of people asked me if I was still going to teach, and my husband tried to convince me that I could still do it. But I didn’t even hesitate…I knew I had to quit. Kids, especially teenagers, need consistency. They need a teacher who would be there day in and day out, both mentally, physically and emotionally. I knew that wasn’t going to be possible with me, so I did what I had to do.
Plus, who knew how much of my energy would be sapped by all the “stuff” I’d be going through. And any that I had left needed to be given to my own kids and husband. There was no doubt in my mind that I needed to just quit.
Although the decision was easy, the ramifications of that decision is not. One of the reasons why I had to get back into the classroom was because I was bored. Cooking and cleaning up and other household duties are just that to me…duties. Not fun. Not stimulating. Just boring work. But teaching is a challenge. It’s exciting and it’s fun. It’s also very hard and very time consuming and there are many days when I wish I didn’t have to face the attitudes and the parents and the apathy. However, overall I gain a lot of my self-worth and energy from the positive results of my planning and teaching…from the students themselves.
But I did have to laugh yesterday when I received my first (and last) paycheck from the district where I was employed for one day. That day that I worked on curriculum, I actually got paid for. I honestly feel guilty cashing it…but it will be used for something good. Also this week, my teaching license for Minnesota finally made it through the renewal process. Great…except I don’t need it now. But I’ll hold onto it, keep it in a safe place, because in a year or two, it will still be valid, and I WILL actually put it to good use.