As most working parents can attest to, I found being a mom and a having a full-time job as a teacher very difficult — even overwhelming at times. During the day, I was with other kids while leaving my own child in the care of someone else. On most days, that broke my heart. Yes, I loved my job. Teaching fulfilled me, and my students inspired me daily, but I missed my baby tremendously. So after a family emergency, and one more kid, I made the decision to stay home with my two small children. I slipped off my heels and stashed them in the closet — maybe forever. But while I left my teaching career behind, sometimes, I'll admit, I still miss it.
Education gets a bad rap these days. I get it; it's not all rainbows and butterflies. There's politics, unqualified administrators, and, obviously, some pretty rowdy students. But overall, there are so many things I miss about teaching. First and foremost, I miss being around zany teenagers. I know, that sounds insane. But our youth have so much hope. Sure, a lot of kids this age are angsty, but underneath all of that angst is a belief in a better world — a lot of it. And all of the hope inspired me every day.
I've had students from some awful backgrounds. I saw it all: poverty, abuse, alcoholism, death, and more. While I hated seeing my students in despair, these same students had so much to live for. Despite the crappy cards they were dealt, my students worked their asses off. They wanted to break whatever family cycle they were born into. They wanted to make a difference — and many times, they did. If my students could rise up to the occasion, then I wanted to be the best damn teacher they could ever ask for.
Another thing I miss about teaching is the fact that every day, it helped me grow and learn. I found that as a teacher, I couldn't just sit back and present the same lesson every single year. Society constantly changes, and the kids change, too. I had to grow, research, and learn, right alongside my students. This constant dedication to education is something I miss tremendously.
OK, this one's cheesy. . . but one of the biggest things I miss about being a teacher is making a difference in the lives of my students. A lot of the times, this occurred with the young women in my classroom. I was also the high school soccer coach, so my room became a hangout spot before and after school. I welcomed it. I loved hosting a space that young women felt safe in. In my classroom, they could share things with me that they didn't feel comfortable talking to their parents about. And quite often, their parents simply weren't around. I was grateful to have a graduate degree in counseling during those hours before and after the bell rang.
For now, I'm unsure if I'll ever return to teaching. But as a profession, I'll always look back on it fondly. Sure, there are countless things that I think we need to do better in regard to how our schools are run, but overall, I found teaching to be the most fulfilling career out there. Maybe, just maybe, the time will come when I grab my heels out of the closet, slip them back on, and step inside my own classroom again.