Its been almost two years since I’ve had my own classroom and been in the grind of teaching. One of the most frequent questions I get now from people, is if I love being home with my kids…the answer is always “YES” followed by a “BUT…I really miss teaching.”
So since its Friday, which was my favorite day of the week as a teacher, here are 3 things I miss the most about teaching—
The community- When you are in a school, the staff definitely sets the tone for the building and for all the crazy kids that walk in the door. My colleagues were the best—-they made the bad days manageable and the good school days even sweeter. My co-workers were “my people.” In a lot ways, they knew more about my life than most of my friends. They cared for me, stood up for me, and honestly, helped me make it to the end of the week.
Working with other people who love their jobs, have a good attitude and typically avoid drama— makes all the difference in the world! And I believe, working with people that you care for and invest in, makes a big difference for students too. Kids see it all. And the community students are surrounded by each day at school impacts them—it gives them comfort, safety and a sense of belonging.
The excitement and mystery-Having taught different grade levels and subject areas, lesson planning was often new and constantly changing. As much as I would dislike creating a new activity, there was always a little bit of nervous excitement about how it would all turn out. I also was the type of teacher who planned 1 day in advance and was making copies 10 minutes before class—again nervous excitement! I miss those small thrills.
I also miss the challenge and creativity to find new ways for students to really soak in learning while in my classroom. The anticipation of an activity working out great, a project coming together, or all the silly made up games in my head—- banking that it would all go off with a hit and be well accepted the next day….I miss it.
Seeing kids’ faces after rocking a test, or answering a really hard question. The stories and unexpected conversations that 12 year olds try to tie in to my lessons plans—good Lord those would bring tears of laughter to my eyes. I miss all that school day excitement.
The transformation-Lastly, I was never the most hip or coolest teacher on my team—I worked with too many wonderful people to hold that position! However, I would be able to act like a fool and get a classroom of students to belt out in laughter from time to time— it was pretty rewarding and special. Not every teacher can be the funniest, coolest or be the hero. But as a teacher you can be PRESENT, CONSISTENT, and INSPIRE your students. This is especially important for the kids who don’t have consistency in their lives; to have a place to feel safe or the surroundings to dream big.
Being able to connect with even a handful of students–makes a difference. I miss that. Seeing a relationship build over the year with a student and how it can transform, is priceless. A kid who at first was disinterested, quiet and timid, then transform into silly, bubbly, and confident in your class—watching that change happen is a gift. My students did such a great job of letting me become a part of their lives for 52 minutes out of the day—I miss watching those transformations.