This first week back to the real world of teaching has really kicked my butt. My alarm clock just kept going off so. early. Which always brings me to the question – would I be happier and a better mother if I were able to stay home full time?
Some background: I teach part-time, which is a phenomenal and rare opportunity in the modern world of teaching. I’m off work every day by 10:30, and I head over to pick up my kiddos and spend the rest of the day with them. Every day at 10:30, I mentally “clock out” and stop thinking about work altogether. In fact, when Jordan gets home later in the day and asks me how my work day was, I have a really hard time remembering. Part time teaching also means part time pay – my paycheck covers the mortgage (almost), and I also carry the health insurance for myself and the babies. Actually, my paycheck is about $50 short of covering those two things, which is a little hard to swallow.
I love my job. I love teaching. Like any job, there are some tough days and rough parts. But mostly, I really enjoy what I do. The problem is that I am always aware of something I could be doing better – and I have a really hard time letting go of that feeling that I am failing in certain aspects in my classroom. I have been tasked with the job of teaching these kids. These kids who are someone else’s babies. Someone else’s Jaylee and Jaxton. And they really deserve the very best of me. I want to give it to them. And in most cases, I am aware of exactly what I should be doing in order to give them the best education that I can.
So every day from 6:45am when I get to work, to 10:30am when I leave, I am pouring myself into these kids. The problem is: that is not. enough. time. I cannot accomplish everything that I need to do in that amount of time. I can’t even come close to accomplishing everything I want to do. So I end up bringing work home on the evenings and weekends so that I can attempt to keep up. But by the time that evening rolls around, I’ve been caring for two little kidlets all day. And the weekends are even harder, because I need to do maintenance on the house, and spend some time with my husband, and maybe even take care of myself a little bit. So my laptop bag sits and mocks me on the counter, reminding me of all the things I should be doing.
Its such a hard place, because I refuse to give up any of my precious time with my precious babies. And my principal is very understanding of this. But I also just plain can’t get it all done. And trying to keep up with everything leaves me exhausted and worn out and ready to burn out. At the moment, we can’t afford to have me quit and stay at home with my babies full time. And honestly, I think a big part of me would miss teaching. But I can’t keep going the way that I’m going now – something has to give.
That something will probably be my work quality as a teacher. But do you see how that’s not fair to the kids who are sitting in my classroom every day? How do I find the balance between caring for my two babies and all the tweenagers that I have been gifted?
I don’t know what the answer is. I wish that I did. Instead, I keep trudging along, trying to keep all the priceless porcelain plates spinning above my head without dropping any. I’m afraid that I’m just going to collapse out of sheer exhaustion at some point, and plates are going to come crashing down around my head. But I don’t know which plates those will be. And I don’t know which ones I’d even WANT them to be.