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(Not) Back to school

by Miranda on September 4, 2012

It feels like the entire world went back to school today.

(Around here, students and teachers have been back for a month and are about to have their first week break thanks to a modified year-round school calendar. Totally awesome until the summer.)

Except not me. I didn’t go back to school. Right now, I’m just mom.

What’s weird is I don’t miss it. I expected to miss it.

I expected to feel a pang of loss? sadness? guilt? something? when I saw my teacher friends posting on Facebook about getting back to their classrooms. Or when I drove past the school twice a week to take Joshua to preschool.

Part of me misses the students. The stories. Sharing my life with them and having them feel comfortable enough to share their lives with me. Part of me misses laughing with colleagues during lunch or planning periods. The adult conversations.

But that’s it.

The last two years I spent in the classroom were fraught with feeling unimportant and unappreciated, not by my students, but by an administration that viewed me as a cog in the machine and not a valued professional. I don’t miss the curtly worded emails that left me feeling like I’d been the one to screw up when I was in no way the one who screwed up. The ceaseless feeling that Big Brother was watching and that at any given moment, my name would be drawn to enter into the Hunger Games of teaching high school for no other reason than that it was my unlucky day.

In a lot of ways, I think the last two years and all of the bureaucracy and bullshit are the sole reasons I don’t miss being in the classroom. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the nationwide evisceration of teaching as a profession worthy of respect and support.

There are days now when I don’t feel appreciated. When what I want for myself sometimes feels unimportant in the grand scheme of things my family needs.

But it doesn’t compare to the feelings from the past two years.

I still wake up early now. But I don’t dread going to work.

Even on the worst of days, I don’t dread being home with my kids.

I suppose that’s all the confirmation I need to know I made the right choice.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Isha September 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

You know, I love you so much that I am willing to let you grade some of my essays if you decide you do miss it :)

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2 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm

NOT IT!

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3 Liz (MyHappyMess) September 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Isn’t it such a great feeling to trust your gut and do what’s right for YOU? I made the decision to stay home with B and, after the initial guilt, I realized just how RIGHT it felt for me. I’m so glad you are enjoying your new situation! And of course there’s always TVF to keep you busy. ;-)

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4 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Yes. So thankful for TVF keeping me busy! But beyond that, I’m so happy with how right this feels.

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5 Veronica September 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Im so happy for you. What a beautiful way to live. You deserve to be valued. I am glad you recognize that. Also I get a whole lot of Miranda now so Im not complaining a bit! :)

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6 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

And there’s certainly a whole lot of me to get! (Thank you, Emma. Thank you a lot.)

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7 story September 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Huge hugs. I am so glad you feel this way and that it wasn’t hard. And I’m sorry in a way that it was so easy to leave because it means that things have been that bad for the past few years. You deserve to be appreciated for all you do and all you are. Enjoy your babies, sweetie, and keep in touch with your big babies. They’re all that really mattered about school.

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8 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

In a way, I’m sad that it was easy to leave because it makes me wonder if teaching was really my calling. I know that it was, but I guess my kids are a stronger calling?

The students. I do miss the students. Some of them.

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9 Susan September 4, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I’m glad you’re feeling this way. I struggled my first year not teaching, but after that I was SO glad to be done with the politics, the admin, the parents. Eventually I missed enough to start tutoring privately and teach music lessons out of my home. And that’s just the right amount of teaching.

I am so, SO glad you’re enjoying your kids at home. SO glad.

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10 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm

There are days when they make me nuts, but yeah, I’m totally loving being home with them!

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11 Suzanne September 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I’m so glad you made the right choice for you and that you’re still sure of it. Being home can be such a challenge but I am always grateful my bosses worst demands are “wipe my butt” and “play trucks with me!” instead of the ridiculous stuff I used to put up with in an office.

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12 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Right? There’s no “my kid isn’t going to get into college if you give him a B. So give him an A.” But “wipe my booty”? I can handle that kind of pressure.

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13 Jenn B. September 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

YES! THIS! I was most definitely nudged in the direction of stay-at-home-momdom by an administration very much like yours. It was terrible. And it was also wonderful, in a way, because I never doubted my choice once made. At least here, even if I haven’t had a shower, even if nobody napped, even if toddler tantrums ruled the day and I was holding my breath and counting to ten to keep my sanity, I NEVER dislike it. I never want to be somewhere that my children aren’t (though I do sometimes want to scream expletives). Here I am appreciated, and first thing in the morning I hear over the monitor, “I want Mom,” even if I feel like I was a big screw-up the day before. My children want me, and they need me; it’s not that kids I was teaching didn’t need me…but these little faces of mine come first.

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14 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Yes. To all of this. Except I occasionally want to be where my children are not. Like a spa getting a massage. But only for long enough for that to happen. Then I’m back to wearing spit-up and slathering peanut butter on bread. And I’m good with that.

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15 Nerdmommathfun September 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Oh my word. Right there. You described exactly how I felt my last year teaching before SAHMness. Great words.

And I’m happy for you too :)

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16 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Thanks for being happy for me. I’m happy for you, too. :)

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17 Amber @Beyond Postpartum September 4, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I’m glad you are feeling so positive about your experience and that you acknowledge you might change your mind some days! :-)

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18 Miranda September 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Oh, some days, I definitely wonder if I’ve done the right thing. But my heart says yes.

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19 Dawana September 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Amen girlfriend. That’s what my last 2 years were like. I actually went in last week and said thank you to my boss for not being an absolute bitch. I told her that I keep expecting to get in trouble for something or be told about what a crappy teacher I am or how wrong I’m doing something and I have gotten none of that. I told her how I developed terrible GERD because whenever I heard my boss’ heels clicking my way down the hall I’d feel a fire in my throat and wanna vomit.

Some administrators take the “administrating” piece very far and they devalue us as teachers and I’m sorry, but when teachers aren’t happy, that trickles into the classroom and the children know. So… enjoy your time home. Who wants to work at a school where they’re under-appreciated? Not me.

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20 Suzy Lolley September 9, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Hi Miranda. It’s Suzy from Cog-land, ha ha. Just saying hi:) Miss you!

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