I am a Mother 1st & a Teacher 2nd
As I have tended to my son for the second night on my own, I have been thinking about the arduous life of a teacher and a mother. I was a teacher first. Then I married into a small family automotive and towing business, of which my husband is on call 24/7 in addition to his daily 8-5 (more like 6) mechanic job; and then I became a mother. Each one of these in and of itself are taxing and joyous… and I decided to play the lead role in each.
So, tonight I made a quick dinner, and used the rest of my time to play, feed, clean, and read to my son. I miss my husband again tonight and have had to play what feels like the roll of single mom – don’t misunderstand me, my husband is working to support us and I’m not really a single mother. Honey – you’re lucky you have me.
Anyway, my point is this. My “teacher bag” is still full and sitting by the door. I just now got into it to pull out my laptop so I could have some “me” time before bed. I was a teacher first and then became a mother; but now I am a mother first and a teacher second. I have to tell myself this every day. Being a teacher and a mother is difficult in so many ways. All I have ever wanted to do is to teach (except for that weird senior year of high school that I decided I was going to be a cabinet maker…). Since becoming a mother and going back to work, I have questioned my career choice (don’t worry boss – I’m not going to jump ship… at the moment). So, as my teacher bag remains unattended to this evening, yet again, I am thinking of the reality of being and mother and teacher.
I feel pulled in two different directions. From 8-3 those twenty first graders are my kids. Each and everyone of them is a unique individual with respective needs for academic and social/emotional growth and success. Many of these kids don’t have much support in multiple areas in their lives and need much more than academic support. While I am attending to each of these individuals, my son is on my mind and being cared for by someone else. Yet, when I am with my son, my twenty other kids are on my mind as well. Did Sam read tonight? Did Zack get dinner? Did John get a bath tonight? These questions only scratch the surface. The amount of worry I have for most of these kids is monstrous. A teacher’s job is not only to teach anymore. A teacher often has to play the parental role as well.
My son is only five months old, but I can’t fathom how so many parents do what they do to their children. There obviously is internal frustration in my job as I am being evaluated on how well my students perform; never mind that Wendy’s dad isn’t in the picture and her mother is in and out of jail due to drug court violations and a judge that won’t put an end to it. So among the frustration of more than half of my students entering first grade at a kindergarten grade level, I am also having to find ways to speed up the learning within my classroom as well as meet the social and emotional needs of my trauma influenced students. My heart breaks for these kids, as I could never imagine doing such a disservice to my son.
So… I spend as much time as a can with my son, and my teacher bag remains untouched, with work piling up. I am not quite sure how I will find the balance but I do know one thing. I am a mother first (to my son and my kids in my classroom) and a teacher second.