LIFE: The Very Beginning Part Of My Story
In last week’s post, I bared it all and told you a part of my story you probably never heard. It was the peak, the climax, the blip in the transformation that’s neither “the before” nor “the after,” and it’s definitely worth the read (or maybe re-read) before this week’s addition to The Story.
After reading last week's post, I hope you had a lot of questions. I hope you both understood and felt confused at the same time, because like I said, that part of the story is just a blip in the middle. It leaves a lot unsaid, uncovered, undisclosed, but it seemed like a good place to start.
This week, though, I want to tell you the story of how I became a teacher, which is a vital part of the big story of how I un-became a teacher. I often express how unfulfilled, tired and sad I was in the classroom, but I fear that I’ve not adequately explained the depth of that lack of fulfillment, fatigue and sadness. It was beyond being tired of grading papers and making copies. It was more than PTO meetings and silly standards and objectives. Those were not that things that made it so terrible.
Here’s the thing that made it all so terrible:
I have always wanted to be a teacher. More than that, I have always been a teacher. I was nothing less than perfectly thrilled to teach my friends at summer camp how to make friendship bracelets. For many hours and many years, I forced my little sisters to sit still and listen to me say things only pretend teachers say, like, “Okay class…” as I wrote on my coveted dry erase board in my bedroom. And don't even get my poor mom started on how many car-trip read-clouds she had to endure while I drifted away into daydreams of one day reading aloud to a sea of my students' faces who would surely show as much enthusiasm and interest as my mother.
To be the vessel in the knowledge journey from here to there: that was my dream of all dreams.
When I fell in love with French at 15, it only made sense to set my life up to become a French teacher. At 18, when entering college, it only made sense to major in French and secondary education to make that career a reality. These were easy decisions, because they seemed to make so much sense.
At 20, when presented with the opportunity to graduate early and move to France to start a Master’s in teaching, nothing had ever seemed to make more sense.
So I moved, and I studied, and I worked, and I had potentially the best year of my life, and at 22 when I returned, I was offered a job to teach 5th grade French immersion, and I accepted, because it made sense.
So that is how I became a teacher by profession, although I have truly always been teaching, and I still am. I love teaching just as much as I did during pretend-school lessons with my two baby-sister-students, and as I said, that’s the things that made it all so terrible. I wanted something so badly. I got it, and then it didn’t quite feel like it fit.
Although it may not appear to be the case, I loved teaching. That’s the part that sucks, don’t you see? If only I had loved it less, perhaps the split would have been more amicable! If only it were not my childhood passion, perhaps leaving it would not have scarred me in that ways that it has!
But, an integral part of my story is the deep-seated passion, the very real, very gut-wrenching tug-of-war we all face between reconciling who we are with what we do, and the lovely truth of the matter that took me 2 long years to accept is this: I am still a teacher, and I’m not sure there’s any way for me to be anything else.
"The Story" will continue to unfold here weekly! I'm excited to share it with you, but this is not a selfish pursuit. I hope that within my story, you find a source of inspiration, encouragement, and connection. That's not only the reason I'm sharing my story, but it's the reason behind every pursuit, post, painting and project. Thanks for being a part of it all with me!