Next week she begins grown up life. Oh, she's been a grown up for a while now, but somehow finishing her Masters Degree and accepting a full time teaching position makes it all feel more official.
When people ask me what my daughter is studying, and I say teaching, I'm generally met with one of several reactions.
Teaching??? I don't know why anyone would want to be a teacher these days!!
Teaching? How great...it means she'll have summers off.
Teaching? But your daughter is so smart and has so much personality. Shouldn't she be running a company or something?
I know there is much to complain about when it comes to our educational system. I know there are some truly awful teachers out there and some truly lazy teachers too. I also know that for every bad teacher who makes the news, there are fifteen good ones who do not. And isn't that that all the more reason to encourage the best and brightest to become teachers? To fuel their passion instead of trying to squash it? To pursue and recruit those students into the field of teaching instead of pushing them in some other direction?
My daughter2 has always always always wanted to be a teacher. When she was ten years old teaching pretend school in our basement I was teaching real kindergarten. She probably had more lesson plans written out than I did. She loves and relates well to children of all ages, and she likes them too. That may sound silly but let's face it, we all know teachers who don't seem to like kids.
My girl is responsible and organized. A wonderful role model for any child. Dependable and a self-starter to the nth degree, plus she's smart. Also strong, compassionate, and brimming with self-confidence. She loves to plan, and loves it when a plan comes together. More importantly she excels at going to Plan B when a plan does not come together.
Aren't these the qualities we want all teachers to possess?
After learning she 'got the job' my daughter told me her head started spinning. I knew exactly what she meant. People love to comment on 'teacher hours', but what they don't always recognize is the way your students and your vocation are never far from thought.
That inside the head of every good teacher the wheels are always turning. How when you lay down at night you are thinking about the boy in the first row, third seat back who needs some new approach when it comes to reading. Or the mean girl in the second seat, second row, who needs to see in you an example of kindness and compassion. Or the parent who hovers anxiously outside your door, wanting a tablespoon full of reassurance or maybe a whole bucket load.
My daughter is a new teacher. She won't be perfect, but her effort will be. She knows a lot, but she doesn't know everything. That's the thing about great teachers. They are always learning, always adjusting what they do to meet the needs of their students. They tweak and fuss and read and research. They talk to other teachers. They scour the Internet. They pray.
My daughter pinned something on one of her Pinterest boards recently and I'm sharing it here. I don't know who wrote it, but I know I love it. (You can find a cute printable of the prayer here).
Once upon a time I was the mom of a third grader. A blonde haired beauty straining to exert her independence, but still needing plenty of snuggle time with her momma. Big blue eyes and a curious mind.
Adventurous. Hilarious. A heart of gold.
first day of third grade circa 1998
She is still that girl.
Dear Parents of soon-to-be third graders-
You are so lucky.
Love, the teacher's mom