Friday, November 18, 2011

Living my dream, one hour a week

Underneath my photo to the right, you'll notice that I've included "teacher" as one of my personal adjectives.  This week, I've questioned whether or not I should use that word.  It was my life long dream to be a classroom teacher, a dream that was wishful thinking.  I wonder if by using that term I'm misrepresenting myself.
 Fellow blogger Shelly from Le Tejana is a real classroom teacher.  The kind of person who gives her heart to many, many kids on a daily basis, year after year.  Her stories are uplifting, and sometimes incredibly tragic.  I thought about Shelly in her classroom this morning and I tried to imagine myself in that role.  After considering the enormous responsibility and expectations, I began to see why I've not taken the next steps into that role.  It's just too big for me at this point in my life.

Maybe I should change the word "teacher" below my picture to "home educator." While it's true that I took on a teaching role as licensed child care provider, taught preschool for several years and also worked as nanny, the time I've spent teaching in a public classroom is limited to my hours either as a volunteer or as a college student earning hours for my Ed Studies concentration.  Which was supposed to be my major.

In the middle of that, along came Elliot.
And I wanted to be with him more than I wanted a license.  I hated that torn feeling.  Hated it.  Having to keep searching and trusting various care givers so that I could keep taking classes was difficult.  I was not willing to seek a full time day care situation so that I could complete student teaching.  It was a selfish act.  Elliot was my baby and I wanted time with him.

One day, my compassionate English professor and academic advisor suggested that I could finish my undergrad degree and return for my teacher's license later, when Elliot was older.  This idea sent a wave of relief through me and I took it and ran...

Then I was left with a fresh diploma and the desire to work a little.  I was eager to use my new skills and confidence that was brimming inside.  So I went to the library and worked second shift.

Which was great.  But still it was not teaching.

And the little teacher flame still burned within.

I know I could be a substitute and do this every day.

Yet Elliot and Richard and I are happy with homeschooling. Everyday I learn more about the kind of teacher I am.  Because my son loves wildlife biology and the natural world, my mind has opened up to a whole new discipline.  It's an intensely fascinating journey.  Last night I thought it would actually be possible to book a cruise to the Bahamas and arrange for Elliot to meet the amazing Doc Gruber, who is currently compiling the largest data collection on lemon sharks in the world.  I appreciate the freedom that I couldn't have in a brick and mortar school. 

I have this other little thing...this homeschool writer/illustrator workshop.

There are four students now.  They have all bonded with one another and have asked me to organize things to do outside of our class, and also to keep going with it next year.  One of my students said today,
"I love this class.  It's more fun than school!"
For one hour a week, I feel like a real teacher in a real classroom.  I feel validated and uplifted by their enthusiastic participation.  It fulfills me in a way I cannot really describe.

It was a big risk to make up a course and pitch it to an administrator.  I can't believe it was accepted and that I'm actually doing this. 

Have you lived a dream in a big or small way?  How did you make it happen?  Or was it completely accidental?

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