Thursday, May 23, 2013

On throwing in the towel and knowing when to quit

Today was my last day of teaching.

I had a tough time packing up my classroom.  We all know that I'm pretty sentimental to begin with, and if walls could talk, they'd tell you many of my happy memories. 

I adore teaching.  I love the faces.  I love their stories.  I love the laughter and random moments.  I love watching them change between August and May, transforming from children into semi-adults literally before my eyes.  I {usually} don't even mind the sassy-pants and defiance that happens with teenagers. 

Why?  Because in exchange, I get the priviledge and opportunity to impact lives.  To literally change the course of someone's future.

It sounds hyped up.  Clearly, there are those who will sleep through my class (and probably every class, for that matter).  There are those with whom I will clash, and they will miss much of what I'm saying because we simply don't jive.  But much, much more often, I am a small cog in the giant wheel of who these children will someday become.  And it is humbling, amazing, and totally awesome.

And I'm throwing in the towel.

It got me thinking about why I got into teaching in the first place.  It has a lot to do with this lady:

She was my 5th and 6th grade teacher, and her influence on my life can't be overstated.   (Sidenote: she also officiated my wedding, if that tells you anything about how very, very important she has been to me over the years.)

It's hard to leave this job behind.  It isn't just a job where I go in everyday, sit at a desk and push papers around.  Being a teacher means something, and being part of this crazy profession and the 600 crazy middle schoolers who have passed through my classroom has meant something.  For a few years, I got to be a part of something incredible. 

There are only two things in this wide world that could make me give up that awesome job, in exchange for the best teaching job of all: motherhood.

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