Last year I would describe myself as on fire. Every day I just wanted to be better and better. I wanted to be a better person, a better mother, and a better educator. I was captivated by what I was learning on social media. Each day I loved reading new blogs, quotes, watching Ted Talks, and reading different books such as Teach like A Pirate, Ditch that Textbook, and Teach Like Finland. My favorite thing was to try to live out the new things I learned. With each new blog I read I had this yearning to be the best educator I could be.
Now let’s talk about this year. This year has been a challenge for me. I adored my summer. I loved being with my husband each day and my two girls. Waking up to their giggles each morning (at 9am may I say) was almost like having a daily cup of coffee. Getting to read one to two books a week and take a walk outside whenever I wanted was infectious. For the first time in my career I didn’t go up to the school in June to set up and I barley went in more than 4 hours total to set up before preplanning. I just knew I needed each moment this summer to enjoy with my loved ones.
Walking into this year has been different for me. I was in my first trimester of being pregnant with bad nausea, my grade level changed, and my dear friend left the school. Last year our school witnessed one of our beloved staff member’s children and former student fight for his life with cancer. Our precious 6th grader lost that fight on September 2nd, 2017 to AML Leukemia a few weeks before his 13th birthday. This created a loss in our school which will always leave a scar on all of us. We are healing, but it will never go away nor should it. Even though we are a strong community with a strong faith, our hearts are broken.
This year I have had to push myself to be the educator I have been for 12 years prior. I have felt that even though no one notices the changes in my spirit, I notice that my heart has not been fully in each day. I have never enjoyed so much hearing the sound of my end of the day alarm to pick up our girls from school. I have found myself running to get my girls who are literally in full sprint and screaming “Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy” over and over as they run across the big playground to get to us. They give us both the biggest hugs. These are the kind of moments you know you have to appreciate because one day they will be too grown to run for us.
I cannot explain the feeling of gratefulness that my husband shares the same school with me. My heart had always told me year 5 at this school would be the year I felt most at home. Having him at this school to lean on or be someone he can lean on has been the biggest gift.
To be honest, I miss my old class. I miss that we went through so many amazing things together and we experienced heartache together too. I truly poured my heart into that group. I am so proud of last year. I know I will look back on this year and be proud too. I know I will do it again. I will bounce back to my energetic self who is always seeking her best. I already see my heart opening up more and more to this group, but it is happening slower than normal for me.
I have to believe that is okay. I am human. I am not a super hero, yet I am often guilty of referring to every educator as one. I am a woman who is a wife, a mother, and a person just trying to be there for others as best as I know how.
And I have realized something this week. This feeling I have right now is okay. I am learning right now I cannot be everything all the time to everyone. I am going to go through seasons of change in my life and in my career. It’s up to me to make sure I’m doing what is best for kids, but it is also my job to be patient with myself and allow myself to adjust to my new class, new grade level, and new emotions. Some of these emotions are joy, but I am also feeling grief, sadness, and a sense of loss not only for our community, but for my coworker who I respect and love dearly.
I wanted to write this piece to be honest. I also wanted to write it because maybe someone out there feels a similar way. If you are having any feelings like me this year, please know you’re not alone. Please know that it’s okay to have your heart hold back for a while, and that fire will come again, but please also know that YOU come first. That your family comes first and to know that is okay!
I cannot wait to write that blog soon to tell you my heart is just captivated by this year, but if it isn’t written I know that is fine too because I know what I have to give this year will be enough. My family might be the ones in need of my heart most this year.
And for the first time in 12 years I’m proud to say I am trying to truly put them first, I know that will not go unnoticed.