Last year was an interesting year for my family.
I had do something I never thought I could or would have to do.
I had to make a mommy decision.
I had to do exactly what many parents have to do for their kids.
I had to give up part of my heart for my kids.
Last year I walked away from my kindergarten classroom and onto a new unfamiliar plan.
The Year I Gave Up My Passion.
Let me explain. I love my job. And when I use the term love, I use that word because it is the only known word to describe the complete joy and absolute passion I have for the job. The word love just doesn’t even feel strong enough. I enjoyed teaching more than any person I have ever met. I believe without a doubt that God put me on this Earth to be an educator. I specifically love Kindergarten. I enjoy the open ended and student centered curriculum. In 10 years in education, I have never gotten tired of the activities we cover. In fact, I work tirelessly on improving my units and mastering my craft.
Notice I did not say that I love teaching more than anything in this whole world. Teaching comes in third. First comes my God. Second comes my family. Third comes teaching. I choose to be a working mom and that is hard! Really, really hard. Some days the tasks at hand seem impossible. Yet the to do list always gets done. I may not get much sleep and some nights I don’t get any sleep. But I make that choice because I strongly feel that fulfilling God’s role in my life as well as filling my heart at school makes me a better mom. My sweet husband is very supportive.
When we knew my current teaching situation wasn’t ideal for my family, I tried to transfer to one of the many schools closer to my house for YEARS. To say that transferring is hard was an understatement. I tried everything. Kindergarten jobs were impossible to get. My family prayed for guidance. I did the work. I worked on my resume and I prepared the portfolio. I applied for the jobs. I worked my contacts. I asked for advice from those who I thought might now better than me. I was told to keep trying, keep plugging away. I was also told to broaden my interest in grade levels. And finally, after 5 years of job searching to better my family, I was offered a job! It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step in the right direction for my family. It was an answered prayer. I called my spouse. We talked about our options. And I took it.
In a single instance, I said goodbye to a piece of my heart, I said goodbye to Kindergarten. I said yes to another grade level. You read that correctly. I packed up my heart and soul for 10 years. I put in boxes every Christmas gift and birthday present that was really for my classroom. I packed up my second home for 10 years. I walked away from friends and a school I liked. And I did it for my family.
I was scared. I was excited. I was sad, so very very very sad. I was relying on God and his hand to help me through. I knew I made the right choice, even though I was sad. But I cried the big ugly cries in private. The only emotion I can compare my decision to leave Kindergarten was brokenhearted.
There were so many blessings along the way. God gave my oldest daughter an AMAZING teacher this year who not just adored her, but taught her above my (very particular teacher-parent) expectations. I had more than an hour with BOTH my kids everyday. And I was at a school where I felt extremely supported. In fact, in my first week at this school, I received more compliments and support than I had in 10 years of teaching. I seriously had no clue what to do with the regular affirmations that occurred often. My new team of teachers was unbelievable. So sweet, so kind, so understanding, so nonjudgmental, so embracing.
I didn’t teach half way. I did the work. I didn’t always know what I was doing. I made mistakes. I admitted my mistakes. I had to study up on my topics each night. I had to learn how to become a different teacher without losing myself. Different can be a good thing. My heart wasn’t empty but the hole was still there. But what I enjoyed about teaching was growing and evolving. I smiled every day. I laughed a lot. I was never miserable or unhappy. I was simply not whole.
To soothe my soul, I even tutored students who needed skill remediation from K to help them. I worked with students on K skills three times a week. Honestly, tutoring and sharing my ideas with others helped my soul more than anything else. I also integrated the fun into my new classroom. I made sure we did hands on activities and assignments. We explored, created, asked questions. And we learned.
But I would still cry. Sometimes I would just miss my Kindergarten room so much, I would go into the room it was stored in and just sit. It sounds stupid. It was stupid. But it helped. I wouldn’t let others see my pain. I didn’t want anyone to know my hurt. Especially not my own children who deserved a mom who could work and put them first.
So what happens to this teacher now? What happens to this teacher who gave up her passion for her family?
Well, God never, ever EVER closes a door forever.
I am so happy to let you know that I am officially heading BACK to Kindergarten next year.
In the end, I am getting exactly what I asked God to give me for all those years.
I will be teaching Kindergarten at a school MUCH closer to my house.
Why am I telling you this?
Each one of us have a grade level or a job we are passionate about.
Some of us are blessed to be able to do the job we are the most passionate about.
But some of us have to give up what we love for important reasons we can’t control.
If you are the person who isn’t able to do the one thing you know God put you on this Earth to do:
Try to see the big picture.
Stay the course.
But… wait… what happened to me next?
Read here to see the update on the year AFTER I gave up my passion.