It feels like the entire world went back to school today.
(Around here, students and teachers have been back for a month and are about to have their first week break thanks to a modified year-round school calendar. Totally awesome until the summer.)
What’s weird is I don’t miss it. I expected to miss it.
I expected to feel a pang of loss? sadness? guilt? something? when I saw my teacher friends posting on Facebook about getting back to their classrooms. Or when I drove past the school twice a week to take Joshua to preschool.
Part of me misses the students. The stories. Sharing my life with them and having them feel comfortable enough to share their lives with me. Part of me misses laughing with colleagues during lunch or planning periods. The adult conversations.
But that’s it.
The last two years I spent in the classroom were fraught with feeling unimportant and unappreciated, not by my students, but by an administration that viewed me as a cog in the machine and not a valued professional. I don’t miss the curtly worded emails that left me feeling like I’d been the one to screw up when I was in no way the one who screwed up. The ceaseless feeling that Big Brother was watching and that at any given moment, my name would be drawn to enter into the Hunger Games of teaching high school for no other reason than that it was my unlucky day.
In a lot of ways, I think the last two years and all of the bureaucracy and bullshit are the sole reasons I don’t miss being in the classroom. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the nationwide evisceration of teaching as a profession worthy of respect and support.
There are days now when I don’t feel appreciated. When what I want for myself sometimes feels unimportant in the grand scheme of things my family needs.
But it doesn’t compare to the feelings from the past two years.
I still wake up early now. But I don’t dread going to work.
Even on the worst of days, I don’t dread being home with my kids.
I suppose that’s all the confirmation I need to know I made the right choice.