Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Monday, February 21, 2011

Another Year Older ... and Wiser?

I turned 28 today. Yes, it happened at 12:33 p.m., when I was in the middle of the triangle pose during a routine Bikram yoga class. My parents never fail to call at that exact moment, belting out an animated version of "Happy Birthday" and vividly recalling what it was like to welcome me into the world on a snowy afternoon in New Haven, Connecticut all those years ago.

I am blessed; I really am. I have an incredible husband, wonderful family and in-laws, loving friends, fulfilling career, excellent health, and numerous personal passions I am able to regularly pursue. I genuinely love my life and try to live each day to the fullest, especially for the sake of my students' well-beings and futures. I feel an enormous responsibility to them and their future successes -- and inevitable failures along the way.

This past weekend, I traveled to Florida to spend some quality time with my parents and godfather. We even spent Saturday at Disney's Animal Kingdom, an experience I always truly enjoy. Yes, it was a bit strange not running through the park as part of the Disney Marathon that I ran the past two years, but it was uniquely refreshing having no other responsibility than enjoying the park, attractions, and ever-alluring shows.

My dad also shared some personal health news with me this weekend that rattled my inner core and immediately put everything back into perspective. His news reminded me of the importance of health, family, love, faith, and keeping one's work/home life in balance. It's true that I am a perfectionist and workaholic -- always have been and probably always will be. Do I want to regret the decisions I make now 10-15 years from now, though? Do I want to wish I had more fun and took more time for friends and family? Certainly not.

When I think back to my New Year's resolutions for 2011, I promised myself to spend less, sleep more, and spend more time with quality friends and family. Aside from the sleep part (still working on that!), I have made progress in the other two arenas. Instead of traveling primarily for marathons and other road races, I am making much more of a concentrated effort to visit family and friends across the country and also invite them to stay with Greg and me. I want to cherish this time we have before having children and truly live our lives to the fullest with NO regrets down the road.

As I think ahead to what my 28th year of life may bring, I also think about some positive CHANGE. This whole school year, I have been itching to do something different next year, whether it means working toward an inevitable administrative position or contemplating a move to a new school. Greg jokes that my "life plan" changes daily (and many times, it does!), but I want to be sure I am making the right decisions for ME while keeping in mind the wisdom and advice countless trusted colleagues and friends have provided me with.

I am still quite unsure about the future, especially as it relates to my career path and having children. My parents had me when they were both 30 years old, and I always thought that to be the perfect age to give birth. Now that 30 is a mere two years away and there is still soooo much I want to do, accomplish, and see in this world, I am reconsidering and completely reevaluating that notion. The idea of being an assistant principal and even working towards a PhD are two goals I see myself pursuing before children. Still, that maternal clock keeps ticking...

Whatever I end up doing next year, wherever I'm teaching, and whenever we decide to have children, I know that I will do so with conviction, confidence, hope, and love. I will move forward with pride and dignity in adhering to my strong personal values and desires while trying to maintain a healthy, constructive balance in all my life has to offer.

We may get older every year, but we also must allow ourselves to trust the process, have faith in the future, and even afford our "inner child" the chance to emerge once in awhile. It's hard to believe I'm already 28, and as the older man next to me on the airplane said to me this morning, "It really feels like just yesterday that I was 28. Enjoy the journey because man, does it fly. Geez."

So, my friends, enjoy every step of your journey and ALWAYS stay true to who you are. Maybe that's a sufficient new resolution for my 28th year after all.

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