It's a rainy day and a Monday, and my thought is that every Monday might as well be rainy. I enjoy rain, but I like it most when I can curl up in my pajamas and read a book while the drops are beating on my window pane. Today, I'm listening to the downpours inside the windowless walls of a computer lab, as I test for what will be my final week of teaching.
From early on in life, I dreamed of being a teacher. I thought that it would be cool to have my own classroom, direct my own kids, and just impact the lives of young people one at a time. I started college planning to be a teacher, but I left sooner than I had my degree. Life moved me forward, and I let go of my dream.
Years later, as my children grew older, I began to substitute teach as a convenient way to earn some extra money while the kids were at school. A couple of years later, I found myself interviewing for a full-time job as a resource teacher, actually an academic assistant, working with 5th and 6th grade students.
It was such a joy to walk into an empty classroom and know that it was mine. I couldn't believe someone was going to let me fulfill my dream of teaching children. I was so excited about the prospect of seeing students make progress, or experiencing their excitement as they finally grasped how to do something that was previously out of reach. I invested every ounce of my being in making a difference, and I soon learned that meant more than teaching them the basics.
Kids are hurting. They need to be encouraged. They have to be reminded to be respectful, to have goals, and to work hard to acheive them. Some just have to be told that they can do it, because they have just never been empowered to acheive anything. They lack stability, social skills, and confidence. Many "can't" accomplish because they have been told that they "can't". I tell them that they can, and I show them to the best of my ability how they can.
Unfortunately, my job pays very little. I have other skills that I will now rely on. I do love healthcare and look forward to returning to the medical field, but I will miss those little boogers that I've worked with. I would like to say that no one can put a price on doing what you love, but tell that to my family that has suffered through enough hardship due to my choice of following my heart. When I reach a point of realization that I make the same in a month that my husband makes in a week, I have to examine my value. For what I feel I do each week, I do believe I'm worth more than I'm paid. I'm sure I'm not the only one in education that feels this way, but I have realized that I've reached a dead end. Unless I go back to school, which would involve spending money and investing many hours in an education, I will not make any more than I'm making right now. It's a harsh trade off, giving up your dream for financial stability, but at this point in my life, I have decided that I am strong enough to make my own happiness in whatever I do.
God opened the door for me to step into a fabulous opportunity. I will be paid well and have good benefits. More than that, I can feel God moving me right into it. I don't know why, but I sure have a peace in it. This week, I have mixed emotions. I step away from a bunch of kids that mean a lot to me. I wonder how they will feel when I leave? I wish I could call them all in and tell them I'm leaving, but I don't know that it would be beneficial to them. It may make me feel better, but they may not understand the reasoning to my departure anyway. I only hope that whoever comes behind me will offer them hope. I pray that they will be encouraged and loved most of all, and that they will learn in the process.
This is my farewell week. I lived a dream for a short while, and now it's off to grown-up life. Thankfully, my other dream was to wear scrubs and to work in a hospital setting, so another dream of mine is coming true. I'm not sure how to move from one dream to another, but I'm going to do the best that I can. That's one thing everyone around me can always count on.