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“Mom” is not my only name… | working after baby

Oct 9, 2016 by

“Mom” is not my only name… | working after baby

I’m supremely happy to be pregnant. I can embrace this whole pregnancy thing. I am growing a freaking human! I’m amazing! What did you accomplish today? Probably not GROWING A HUMAN BEING! My students reminded me this week that I currently have two brains! I’m fascinating.

Also, strangers carry stuff for me, I have an eternal excuse to sit on the couch and eat ice cream, and I don’t feel at all guilty having the grocery store bag boys take my grocery bags to the car. I can’t complain. I haven’t had many extreme symptoms, I’ve felt pretty darn good! I’ve been lucky. Most days I can sit here and really believe that I could successfully and happily produce 7 or 8 kids….and that’s all well and good when I think it. It is not ok when you think it…

because it is not 1950. I am not a “little housewife”, in fact, I’m a terrible housewife. I’m not keen on the idea that someone imagines me being barefoot in the kitchen. (Unless you’re my husband, and in that case….well…your mom reads my blog).  It is not my job to produce offspring and fold laundry. If you know someone whose job it is to fold laundry, and they have affordable prices, please send them my way.

I'm not a little housewife...in fact I'm a terrible housewife. #workingmom Click To Tweet

I thought we, as a society, had become more progressive than this. So I find myself surprised when my co-workers assume that after the baby I’m becoming a stay-at-home mom.

Now, before the internet starts hating me, I know a bunch of awesome SAHMs and I admire them because they are freaking awesome. I am not that awesome. I’m in awe of the selflessness being a SAHM takes, and I’m a little ashamed that I don’t know if I have that in me. I’m actually pretty intimidated by tiny humans, I don’t know how I would entertain both the baby and myself all day, and I am afraid of looming housework. Staying home with my kids has never been a dream of mine. (I recognize the gigantic can of worms I’m opening, I know the arguments on both sides of this issue… and that’s your thing. Not mine. I’m not about to argue how awesome it is to be the one to teach your kid things, not miss milestones, etc. I recognize the awesomeness of that).

Regardless, I have never insinuated that I planned to stay home and yet I have co-workers and even superiors at work who keep mentioning my role as mother, and how I am not coming back to work after the baby’s birth. I feel judged because I’m pregnant, it almost borders on harassment. This is especially true because it keeps getting shared publicly. It makes me angry. Isn’t this my decision? Stop making assumptions about my family.

I am not just a mil-spouse. I am not just a wife. I am not just a pregnant woman. I don’t intend to be just a mother, although that is a title I am really looking forward to having… I worked really hard to get where I am today. I worked toward a 4.0 in my master’s program, and feel proud every time I think about it. I’m certified to teach English in multiple states, and I’m a really excellent teacher–if I do say so myself. I became professionally certified in Colorado, so that I could become better at my job. I attend workshops and professional development to further my craft, and I have 50+ students who depend on me not only to get them through the 7th grade but to lead them toward paths that make them cool adults. I am passionate about teaching, I’m inspired to help other teachers become better teachers, and I think it’s genuinely my calling to help motivate teenagers toward embracing their education and becoming better people.

Being a good mom doesn’t mean I have to give up my career or have a homemade dinner on the table every night. I think valuing myself and my education is a pretty damn good example for my daughter. I think allowing her to see that I can juggle professionalism with a home life is important too. I want her to grow up watching her parents chase dreams and adventures. I want her to remember as she struggles with becoming adult that it is important to value herself, not put herself last, and not make sacrifices that jeopardize her happiness. I want her to see that sometimes its hard to do the things that we want to do, and to observe those moments when all that hard work matters. I want her to see that her parents have ambitions that are not based on her, and that even though she may be the center of our world, the world does not revolve around her.

The idea that someone I work with simply assumes that I want to walk away from so many things that are important to me is silly. They haven’t even asked. And it makes me mad.

The truth is, it is my intention to take a maternity leave to be with my wee one, and then go back to work. I am responsible for those little faces in my classroom, I am responsible for contributing financially to my family, and I am responsible for creating my own happiness. The truth is, that its nobody’s business but my own. The truth is, I have no idea how I’m going to feel going back to work when our little girl is here, my friends with kids have told me it’s brutal. I’m sure it will be. Maybe I will eventually decide that it’s better for us if I stay home for a while, I cannot predict that. I do know that I can’t wait to hold her in my arms and tell her how much we love her and how long we’ve been praying for her. We’ve just started looking into childcare and it’s terrifying. I don’t know how you make the decision to leave your child with a virtual stranger, but we will do what is best for our family. The truth is, that’s my decision to make when the time comes, I don’t have to decide now and you certainly do not have the right to decide for me. I take offense to people telling me what to do.

I think I get that from my grandmother.

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When Teachers Make a Difference: Thank You Note Edition

May 21, 2015 by

When Teachers Make a Difference: Thank You Note Edition

I am working on a template for a Thank You Note to Students From Their Teacher…. and it’s a bit more difficult than I imagined.

I’m linking up today at a few places, but the best one is over at The Day Book because as I think about wrapping up the end of the school year their link party is titled Awkward and Awesome… I can’t think of a better way to describe my 7th grade students. As the year winds down, I want to be able to tell them just exactly how awesome they are. In doing so, I have the bright idea of writing each one of them a personal note letting them know how much they shine, and how much they’ve meant to me. I didn’t think about how much of an undertaking this was going to be before I started! Its starting to be a time consuming project,  but I want to make each of them personal to the student and I want to make them feel special. So here’s what I’ve got as a basic template.

 

It is important to let kids know that they matter. Click To Tweet

 

Dear ______________,

It’s that time of year again, and I am faced with the sad ending of our time together. It’s a little bit bittersweet to be saying goodbye. This is especially true since I’ve been able to be with most of you for two full years. I am sad to see you move on to 8th grade, but it’s so sweet to see all the personal and academic growth you have made in the 7th grade. I am especially proud of you for your growth in _____________.

I want to take a moment to thank you for being the awesome kids you are. First, thank you for being patient and honest with me. This was my first year teaching 7th grade at _______School and there were times when I was learning too. I appreciate how willing you all were to just go with the flow and give feedback when you thought something wasn’t running as smoothly as it could. We had a lot of laughs this year, I will always remember ______________________________________.

I hope you always remember that you are capable of much more than you think you are. We read incredibly complex books this year and I am so proud of the thinking skills you were able to develop!

Most importantly, thank you for your positive attitude and your willingness to learn something awesome every single day. I love this job, I love hanging out with you guys and I love watching you learn.

I will always consider myself your teacher, and you will always be “my kids”.  Don’t hesitate to come see me as you progress through your academic career, I like to know you’re making good choices and being kind.

When you look back on 7th grade a year from now, ten years from now, fifty years from now, I don’t know if you’ll remember much of what you learned, but I hope you remember you were very, very loved and you are incredibly special.

Go. Do great things. (I know you will). I’ll be cheering you on from here.

So much love,

 

 

 

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When Teachers make a Difference: Teacher Appreciation Week

May 5, 2015 by

When Teachers make a Difference: Teacher Appreciation Week

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s flashback to 1996…

He was a roly-poly little guy with glasses and freckles. His blonde hair fell over his forehead and he would turn tomato-red if he was embarrassed. He had the most adorable dimples and he was my best friend…

When we were in 5th grade we were not the coolest kids in the class. We were ahead of our peers academically and far more mature, we played in the school band, we read a lot of books… we were the definition of nerd. I can’t remember if we both had braces yet by that point, he did, and if I didn’t I needed them. I had a mouthful of too many teeth, bangs that were always in my eyes and hair that could have been exposed to shampoo a little more regularly. I still wore outfits that my mom picked out for me, I had ever-increasing acne, and I was extremely, painfully quiet. The other kids picked on me about my sneakers, my lack of a boyfriend, and my Wal-Mart wardrobe…Tommy just sat next to me and did his homework, it was nice, it was comfortable, it was the beginning of a lasting relationship at the top of our class. We may not have been cool, and we may not have had many other buddies, but our developing sense of perfect sarcasm and enlarged vocabulary made us fast and forever friends.Teacher Appreciation Week

It was in this classroom that we discovered the meaning of friendship and also the idea that we were worthwhile. Not because our peers supported us or because we became instantly popular, but because in that classroom we had a teacher that made us feel like we were important.

It was in this classroom that we discovered the meaning of friendship Click To Tweet

Mrs. Cleveland talked to us like we were people, not like we were kids. She valued our opinions and listened to our stories. She was able to make the extra work and harder assignments in the upper level reading group seem like a privilege instead of a burden. She recommended us for the gifted and talented program and she championed our successes. She was able to allow us to come out of our shells and feel like we were special. She told the best stories. Mrs. Cleveland took the time to get to know us, to allow us to develop our sense of humor, and to chastise those who made fun of us.

Mrs. Cleveland asked me one day why there was such a correlation between smart kids being made fun of. “Why are smart kids so unpopular?” she asked. “You guys are smart enough to beat the system.” And so, we did.

Our station on the popularity spectrum gradually rose throughout high school. Tommy started running and was quite good on the track team, I held starring roles in the school plays and was mediocre at volleyball. The numbers of our classmates dwindled and we found ourselves in better places as we got older.

I haven’t become a millionaire, or cured cancer, or made Hollywood fame and I may never do anything supremely noteworthy. Mrs. Cleveland’s class didn’t lead me to become a doctor or a lawyer or a famous author…. But her kindness taught me about life far more than any text book could. Her attitude toward us in that room every day led me to be able to hold my head up high, dirty hair and all, and to be proud of my accomplishments, no matter how small. It takes someone pretty special to take a couple of quiet, awkward pre-teens and give them the confidence they need to become pretty cool, successful adults. It is because I once had a teacher who believed in me, that I am who I am today, and that has made all the difference.It takes someone pretty special to take a couple of quiet, awkward pre-teens and give them the… Click To Tweet

Tommy went on to travel the world, teach in Japan and graduate from Harvard. He’s still a wonderful friend, who loves God and married a beautiful girl who embodies kindness.When teachers make a difference: Junior Prom

The long and windy path of life has led me to a Master’s degree in Education and dual high school teaching certification in several states. I’ve traveled a bunch, served with AmeriCorps, and finally feel comfortable in my own skin. I now sit in my own classroom sometimes looking at the awkward 7th graders in the seats and wonder who they will become and what piece of me they will take with them.

I hope someday, when they are in their 30’s they can look back and know that in this moment they are loved, they are liked and they maybe even are a little bit cooler than they think they are.

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