I’ve always found Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” a little stalker-ish. (There are definitely other candidates but that’s a discussion for another day. Pop music continually walks the line before devotion and felony.) One of the lines states “Boy, don’t you know you can’t escape me?” Put in prose, that line is more than a little obsessive, more than a little “you can run but you can’t hide.”
I think the teaching profession is singing this song about me, right now. “Lauren, don’t you know you can’t escape me?”
I can’t remember the number of time that I have said, “It’s been great; I regret nothing but it’s time to move on to something a little better suited for me.” I’m fairly certain the number exceeds the number of fingers on a standard human hand. (It may even exceed the number of toes on a polydactyl cat.) My teaching career is often compared to a certain ex-boyfriend; we were constantly in the process of either breaking up or getting back together. And in spite of how many times I said it wouldn’t happen again, it would happen again.
It has happened again. I am back in a school. Teaching and I have decided to try to be friends. Our relationship wasn’t working with me as a classroom teacher so now I’m a SPED teacher, basically. What this means is that I’m more responsible for fewer children. I push into their classes; I pull them out of their classes; I give support, extra instruction, cheerleading, etc. I’ve been at it about a month, and I’m sleeping at night, eating regularly and not strung out. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I live MUCH closer to my school and no longer get up at 4am. But really I think it’s more because this actually makes me happy. Or maybe because I am happier in general.
Moments sitting next to one of my kiddos working through word problems, rewriting theses or just asking them how the day went are kinda neat. Dropping into the middle of a school year is rarely fun, and sometimes I have no idea what room I’m to be in but I taught most of these students last year, and I’m glad to have them back.
As with any change in relationship status, there’s some strangeness. The waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting to become half crazy and wholly sleep deprived. Waiting to regret my glib words. Maybe I will. Maybe I will determine that teaching and I can never be friends.
Maybe I won’t. Maybe I won’t get burned out, strung out on sleepness nights and caffeine this time. And that’s why I really can’t escape because I always believe that this time I will be better.