For the most part I am 98% proud of my profession, the work I do everyday, and how hard I work while doing it. And beyond being proud of my profession and my work, I am 98% happy, which is really everything, isn't it?
The 2% of disappointment creeps in when I read the alumni magazine from my school. My college is one of the top 20 liberal arts colleges, a school w/out a teaching program because it doesn't want to be 'a teaching school'. A school that prides itself on taking students away from the Ivies by offering significant scholarships. (I was not one of those students.) I always joked that my time at college was my 'four year vacation into the WASP lifestyle'. I didn't necessarily fit in, but I enjoyed looking in from the outside. Of course, I spent 4 years defending my ambition to be a teacher and answering questions like, "why are you wasting your money HERE if you just want to be a teacher?" (It's the JUST is always what got me). Most of my peers went on to Wall Street, law school (but only the top tier law schools of course), or, for the non-traditional ones, they took their Fulbrights and their Watsons and set off around the world.
I of course, grabbed my markers, my stickers, and my lesson plan book and settled into a first grade classroom to work harder than I thought was possible.
So, 98% pride in my work. 98% happiness. 98% smugness that I'm doing something that really matters instead of working for hours at a firm that could care less about me.
Last night we got the alumni magazine, aka, gossip column specifically written for my college. First I flipped to the front cover to see what new books have been written by alumni. None of my classmates have published a whole book yet (although some students from '99 just finished a dvd documentary).
Then I flipped to the wedding announcements. Note: not the 'update/place to brag about how fabulous you are' announcements. Those usually make me cringe. No, the wedding announcements that should merely talk about who got married, what they wore, and who else from our college was there.
"the couple will pursue masters degrees in international relations through johns hopkins university's school of advanced international studies in italy"
"the couple will return to their law practice in philadelphia"
"the bride will complete her residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation, and the groom, a geologist, will continue his career in the oil and gas industry"
"the bride will finish her law degree while the groom finishes his phd in physics"
These are all people I know, people I was in school with. I left out the couples who left before I met them (who of course, are now the youngest partners in their law firm, or are doing a fabulous job with their own start up business)
my husband and i tried to come up with ours last night. 'the bride will return to avoiding the flying snot from her special education kindergarten students', or 'the bride returns to 18 loving children who prevent her from going to the bathroom whenever she wants to'.
when in truth it was, 'the bride was so busy with parent conferences, behavior plans, trying to help first graders understand how to tell time that she was unable to submit a marriage announcement'.
98% happiness. For that other 2%, I'll just use tree's line 'I work at a think-tank focused on creative solutions for tomorrow's problem solvers'.