Saturday, March 22, 2014

Maternity Leave

I've been on maternity leave for two weeks now. I have a beautiful new daughter I love cuddling and loving on. And yet, I'm not good at maternity leave. I wouldn't give it up for anything and I know how important these early weeks are- I wouldn't change it- but I miss my kids!
I miss teaching. I miss thinking about teaching, strategizing how best to teach. I miss my coworkers. Mostly, I miss the kids. Feels a bit wrong to admit it when I am suppose to be cherishing every moment with my family. And I am cherishing the moments (well, most of them). But I still find myself thinking about school and the kids quite frequently.
It's good I miss it. If I didn't it would be time to think about leaving the classroom. Missing it is a reminder that I'm doing the right job. I will need to remember that when maternity leave is over and I switch from missing school kids to missing my family. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

One More Day

Life's been keeping me too busy to post lately with trying to wrap up my sub plans, get everything in order at school for someone else to step in, and of course, trying to get my house in order for the baby. Not to mention keeping up with an active toddler who is slowly being transitioned from the role of baby to big sister.
I've been exhausted and barely able to organize my thoughts. So tonight, the night before my last day of work, crept up on my much faster than I was prepared for.

We've had snow days for Monday and Tuesday this week, which means that the massive to-do list I gave myself 3 days today must now all be completed in one day, while also trying to say goodbye to the kids and attend all the meetings and lessons I normally would. I have a feeling I'll be there late tomorrow night.

It's weird to even think about "saying goodbye" to the kids. It's so far from the end of the year- they have so much work ahead of them- so much growth to come, achievements to accomplish, so much to learn- that it doesn't seem right that I'm walking away from them. We're in the trenches right now- past the January slump and getting ready to kick it into high gear for spring and I'm stepping away. It just feels wrong, like I am abandoning them.

This year was a strange one in my teaching career. I spent the summer getting excited about teaching my Intellectual Disabilities class again. After a year of doing something very new for me I was excited to have a year without a crazy steep learning curve. And then- a week into the school year my doctors put restrictions in place because of my pregnancy and I suddenly found myself NOT in my intellectual disabilities classroom I'd spent so much time setting up and planning for- but in another new position where I had another significant learning curve. Although I'd taught third grade remediation classes before, and coached third graders on my jump rope team, I didn't have much experience with them. Let alone third grade content. It's been a humbling year, and right as I feel like I've gotten into the swing of things I'm leaving.

The third graders I've worked with this year have come to hold a very special place in my heart. One of them in particular makes the "all time" list, with the likes of My BFF, Magical, My Smart Cookie and Rock Star. That's a hard list to make. But like all of them he taught me a lot about myself and teaching as much as I taught him anything. He's going through a rough patch right now and it's heart breaking to have to walk away.

I clearly wouldn't want it any other way. I'm excited to be about to welcome my second daughter into our home- can't wait to meet her, cuddle her and love on her (even with the lack of sleep in my future). But the nature of teaching makes maternity leave that much harder. Sure I'll miss my pay check and my adult conversations, but more than anything I'll miss the kids.

I want to be with these kids when they take their SOL tests for the first time. I want to help them through the next few months- the rough patches- the social misunderstandings- the difficult concepts in math- reading new books- learning how to identify the author's main idea. I want to see how it all ends.

More than anything I'm not prepared to say "goodbye" tomorrow. Although I'm not planning on coming back this school year I do hope to come back and visit and to keep in touch with the kids. For the first time in my life I wish we didn't have snow days so I could have had the beginning of this week to slowly wrap things up.