Saturday, April 10, 2010

Teaching as a Mom: Five Thoughts

Teaching, now that I'm a mom, feels a little different.

1. I see them all as babies, more so than I did even after my nephews and niece caused me to see them as children rather than just adolescents. Something about their hair, and their heads, reminds me of my baby, and it's all I can do not to nuzzle them. Here they are, writing essays, and all I can see is what babies they still are in many ways. I've always been kind to my students, but now I am ABSURDLY kind to them. (I've only been back three weeks- maybe my maternal attitude toward them will decrease as time passes?)

2. Yesterday morning I was so tired. I was leaning in a doorway in the school, just being an adult presence in the halls since it was the Friday before a vacation. I was watching dozens and dozens of 11-14s pass by, and I suddenly got teary at the fact that my little boy will one day be as old as these kids, and as tall as me.

3. This is my first year teaching as a mom. I don't think about my baby TOO much during the day, except when I'm pumping, because the pace of teaching is so fast. I've got 20-25 kids in the room, and I am responsible for their development as writers and readers. That does NOT leave a lot of time to think about my life. Being so busy means I go through parts of my day feeling like the "pre-baby" me... the me who does not have a little part of her out in the world. And that's a very different feeling than the feeling I have when I am with my baby, which is the feeling that there is MORE of me. It's weird to feel both of those feelings in the same day. I think that is life as a working parent maybe- the two halves of your day are two extremes. No baby, all baby. (And as a stay-at-home parent, it's all baby, all the time, and that is intense. In some ways, working makes life easier. Not having a daily nap time, though? That's not easy.)

4. I feel WAY more empathetic to working parents. Sometimes my fellow teachers (the ones without kids) talk and sound as if they CAN'T BELIEVE a parent didn't follow up on an email about the kid's missing work! As a working parent of a baby, I'm thinking, if that parent is half as tired as I am, and has more than one kid, yeah, I can see how that might slide. I also have way more understanding about late permission slips.

5. I appreciate my job even more now because it's crystal clear that it's a way to earn a living for my family. I have always liked my job, but now I feel like I am doing it for an even bigger purpose, which is to make my baby's life more stable. My job and its fabulous medical insurance means we will always have the medical care that we need.

No comments: