Posted on February 2 2012

my teacher heart

I got a job teaching high school English right out of college, when finding a teaching job in Michigan was difficult and a lot of my friends were leaving the state to find jobs.  So, I taught at that school for two years.  It was an alternative high school where the vast majority of students didn’t want to be there, but legally had to be in school somewhere.  I was 22 years old and new to the teaching world, and was thrown into figuring out how to be a post-college adult and a teacher all at once.  It was a roller coaster ride for two years – I was threatened, hugged, called a “cry baby bitch” (note: I wasn’t crying at the time I was called that), locked in a room with thirteen angry kids in the midst of a (fake) bomb threat during lunch time (mad + hungry = crazy), a part of a great many dance-offs, came really early to work, stayed late, cried with students, laughed with students, was reminded that brothers/sisters/boyfriends were older than me on several occasions, all while trying to impart some wisdom of reading and writing that my students would enjoy.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I were sitting at his coffee shop in April and it started snowing.  We needed a break from it all – from the snow, our jobs, our small town…Within a few months we were on our way to San Francisco.  We sold most of our stuff, packed up our dogs, and jumped in our VW Golf.  It was a cozy ride across the country, needless to say.  As much as I had tried, I didn’t have a job lined up in SF.  I was calling schools in the car, as the school year was starting in a few weeks.  We crashed on our friends’ floor (yes, us and our dogs) for a month until I found a job teaching high school science, and we found an apartment that would let us have dogs.

I really liked being a teacher, so very much.  While I really love reading and writing on a personal level, I love teaching science.  I always thought I’d be teaching about plate tectonics and mitosis until I retired from the profession after I put in my thirty-five years in the biz.  We all know how much time is required of teachers.  Wait, we all know that right?  Definitely not a nine to five job, which left the fractional amount of time for anything remotely fun that requires more focus than working a TV remote.  I always loved food and writing, but I never had the time to spend in the kitchen or writing anything other than my remarks on quizzes and lab reports.

I’m sharing all of this for a reason.  I am so glad we moved back to Michigan so we could be closer to our families and I could stay home with Jack.  A great and marvelous perk of being at home is having time for me, to do things I’ve always talked about doing but never had the time for.  It’s been this great moment in my life, an encouragement to take advantage of this opportunity to really be doing what I love.  As much garbage that life can throw at me, in the grand scheme of things I am constantly reminded that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing.  Staying home isn’t for everyone, and having a real official professional career is very important to a lot of people.  Who knows – maybe I’ll teach again?  I don’t know.  I’m not advocating exactly what I choose to be doing in my life right now as a one-size fits all lifestyle for everyone, but I just want to remind people to go choose to do something you really love and enjoy, as busy as you are.  One of those very decisions for me today?  I will be heading to the grocery store where the girl that called me a “cry baby bitch” works at the Starbuck’s, and looks at me very strangely trying to remember who I am as I pass by.  She has no idea who I am and always compliments my glasses.  One day I’m going to stop and get a coffee and spring the old “cry baby bitch” stroll down memory lane.  One day.

  1. Michelle Hagewood says:

    lol! I miss parts of teaching for sure…but know how fortunate I am to stay home at least for this year… :-) so glad that you are enjoying this time in your life that, let’s face it, will be gone much too quickly…so enjoy every second! love your posts, Em!

  2. krystal says:

    love it, thanks! just what i needed to read today :)

  3. NicoleD says:

    This is awesome. Please do share when you have the “cry baby bitch” convo! I have an english/teaching degree and after moving to the east side of the state and leaving my connections behind in west Michigan, I found it difficult to find a teaching job, too. I ended up landing in e-commerce/social media instead and have been there ever since. The twists and turns our paths take, huh?

    • Emily says:

      Yeah, the twists and turns are crazy!!! And I’ll be sure to share if I ever get the guts to bring it up! Though I’m sure it’ll be a lot less exciting than I think it’ll be.

  4. Sarah Drumm says:

    Please call me before you head to that store and talk to that girl at the Starbuck’s. I promise I will just be all nonchalant and looking at the sushi made with brown rice (ewwww— what’s the point?). I just want to see it all go down SO BADLY!

    GO HILLTOPPERS FOREVAH!!!

    • Emily says:

      I will call you when this happens, but I’m slightly worried it may be spontaneous. I will try my best to make sure this is premeditated. (that just sounds bad and murdery) I’ll be sure I plan it ahead of time.

  5. anne says:

    I love me that CBB story, so I’ma go with Sarah Drumm to the sushi aisle, where we’ll lurk and listen and she’ll judge me when I buy the brown rice sushi, because I love it. I wish you had been my high school teacher, because I’m sure you were the very coolest.

    I think Kalamazoo needs one of these: http://826national.org/, and I think we’re just the girls to do it …

    • Emily says:

      Okay, you can be there too. But, you must wear your actor face and not laugh. You may smile, but it can’t be too big of a smile.

      YES! We do need one of those! What should our storefront be? Robots, time machines, pirates and a lot of other things are taken. I think an exotic pet shop!!!

  6. anne says:

    Oooh, exotic pet shop would be exciting! I was thinking, like, mad brain-scientist lab. Just give me a minute to finish my degree and then we’re on this like mad brain-scientists on exotic pets.

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