This week I made a decision, I resigned from my real world job. My dream job. The one I’ve always wanted to do.
The one I loved.
As regular readers of the blog will know, the decision about whether to go back to work – or not – is something I’ve really struggled with. The truth was I wanted it all. My middle management teaching job with a two hour round trip commute, and to be there at home to drop the Bear off at school, to do activities with the Lion, and to collect the Bear again at the end of the day.
It didn’t compute though, no matter how hard I thought and tried to figure things out in my head, doing both properly just wasn’t going to happen, and well the idea of doing neither properly was I guess what made me make the final decision.
I love teaching. I’m passionate about it.
I teach because I want to make a difference, to give chances to those others give up on, to provide continuity to those who need it the most. I love every moment I spend in a classroom, but I also know that I can’t just leave it at the classroom door. I bring home my job and metaphorically ‘my school children’ every night. I agonise about a system that is broken, a system that is letting them down, and I worry that no matter how much I give it won’t be enough. I could decide to be a different kind of teacher, one for whom teaching is just a job, but that just isn’t me.
At school I take breaks with the children, I eat my lunch with them, I hug them (yes I know it’s not technically allowed) after a meltdown, I fight their battles with mainstream staff.
I’m the one they most want to lash out at when things go wrong, but I’m also the one they run to when things have gone well. My children stay with me for five years. I become, in school at least, their greatest confident, their biggest ally.
I will miss them. I will miss them more than words can say.
There will be a new me. They will have someone else to fight their battles, someone else to reassure them, to have fun with them, someone else to create lessons around their special interests, someone else who will celebrate with them when they learn to learn. That person will be a lucky teacher. I hope they know how lucky they are. I hope they look past the swearing, the shouting, the spitting and the biting. I hope they love ‘my children’ on the bad days as well as the good.
But however sad I am about the decision I have made, I know that for now it’s the right one.
My school children have had the best of me for so many years, now my children need that from me. They need the best of me; not the quarter of me they would get after a long day of fighting school politics or battling the education authority; but the mummy who has the energy to play, the energy to put them first.
I am not giving up teaching, I’ve already been offered a job as a classroom teacher for two half days a week.
I know I will love those times. I know I will give my all, plan exciting lessons, do all I can to wow my students. I know that for that much time I can commit to being the kind of teacher I want to be. But I also know it will allow me to be the kind of mummy I want to be.
I’ve found a compromise, a way to have it all.
A way to live with myself, to give myself to my children and a way to make a small difference in the world. It isn’t perfect, but then life never really is. I will love my chance to be a ‘better’ mummy, but I also know I will feel guilty about the children I’ve left behind. As with everything it’s a balancing act, a set of scales we never quite get right.
A woman. A partner. A mother. A teacher. A way of being them all.