Anyone who has read my bio knows that I work at a preschool during the daylight hours. I work with the older toddlers, those who will turn three during the next school year. It's a job I love, but I have to say, I've learned more about what not to do as a parent then I have what to do from all the parents of the kids I've had in my class over the past four or five years....
Don't get me wrong, they've all been pretty good kids, but some of those parents....
Anywho, I never actually wanted to be a teacher. Sure, most people who end up with an English degree seem to become some kind of teacher, but I never wanted to be, because that's what everyone thought I should be with that degree. Well, low and behold, after a stint with McDonald's (that was longer than I care to admit at the moment), teaching called and I, somewhat reluctantly (but a bit desperately) answered. After all, no one can live off a basic fast food wage when living on their own in Dallas. It just doesn't happen.
At first it was all so weird and crazy and overwhelming. The school felt so HUGE! And everything else so complicated and insane. Names to memorize, lesson plans and procedures, rules/laws/guidelines to memorize and practice on a daily/hourly/minute basis. And that was just as an assistant teacher.
My first year I worked with every age group in the school. It was fun. It was challenging, and I loved it. And then they asked me to be a full out teacher. Freak out! Thankfully I got paired with a great co-teacher, because the school I work out puts two teachers in pretty much every classroom. She taught me the ropes of all the daily sheets, conference paperwork, lesson plans, highlights, calenders, newsletters, making bulletin boards, parent boards, cubby tags, art projects, etc. And believe you me that those things add up fast.
Then a new school year started, became an assistant teacher again, for about a month, before the administration was like, hey, we need you to be a full teacher again. What could I say? I'd done it before. Why not do it again? And now I've been doing that for several years.
It's an exciting/boring/overwhelming/challenging/rewarding job. Sometimes I feel a bit bipolar from day to day, and sometimes hour to hour, pending on how the kids decide to behave, or not, as the case may be.
Over time, you learn a lot about all the theories of development, SIDS, Shaken Baby, what the "experts" say and think about how kids should behave, etc. It's interesting. Some of it is just common sense. Some of it makes absolutely no sense to me, but if its what they mandate, who am I to argue?
Overall, it's fairly rewarding, and tiring. More often than not, I come home exhausted. I work late into the night some nights to finish up lesson plans or highlights, or to get art or some other project ready for the next day. I write during nap time, sometimes trying to edit, but only when all the kids are asleep. And sometimes I come home too tired to do anything but pop a frozen dinner into the microwave, maybe watch an episode of a show with my hubby before has to go to work, then crash. It's amazing I get any writing done, to be honest.
But, to be honest, the only careers I'd probably trade it for are to be a full time writer, and to be a mother, both of which I hope will happen soon.
So, as much as I love being a preschool teacher, I really, really want to just be a stay at home mom and a writer. Like any other job, it's not for everyone, nor can everyone do it indefinitely. But, for what it is, it's not a bad way to make a living.